Reevaluating the potency of the memory conformity effect

Glen E Bodner, Elisabeth Musch, Tanjeem Azad

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)


    Witnesses sometimes report event details that are acquired solely from another witness. We reevaluated the potency of this memory conformity effect. After viewing a crime video, some participants learned about nonwitnessed details via discussion (dyad group), reading another participant’s report (read group), or watching another version of the video (both-video group). In Experiment 1, these participants often reported nonwitnessed details, but on a source-judgment test most details were attributed primarily to the actual source rather than to the video. In addition, the dyad group was not more likely than the read or both-video groups to report nonwitnessed details. Participants in Experiment 2 were explicitly discouraged from providing details that were remembered from the secondary source only. These postwarning instructions substantially reduced the memory conformity effect, and a dyad group was not more likely than a read group to report nonwitnessed details. Encouraging source monitoring at test can reduce the negative consequences of co-witness collaboration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1069-1076
    Number of pages8
    JournalMemory and Cognition
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


    • secondary source
    • read group
    • source monitoring
    • critical detail
    • crime event


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