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A new study suggests that asking eyewitnesses to close their eyes when trying to recall events may boost their memories.
The study included 178 volunteers who were shown videos of people committing crimes and were then asked to recall details of the crime. The volunteers’ memories of what they’d seen and heard was more likely to be accurate if they closed their eyes while being interviewed, the study found.
Having a good rapport with the interviewer also helped the volunteers’ memories, according to the study published in the journal Legal and Criminology Psychology.
“It is clear from our research that closing the eyes and building rapport help with witness recall,” study author Robert Nash, of the University of Surrey in Great Britain, said in a university news release.
“Although closing your eyes to remember seems to work whether or not rapport has been built beforehand, our results show that building rapport makes witnesses more at ease with closing their eyes. That in itself is vital if we are to encourage witnesses to use this helpful technique during interviews,” he added.
Nash RA. Does rapport-building boost the eyewitness eyeclosure effect in closed questioning? J Legal Criminology Psychol. 2015; DOI: 10.1111/lcrp.12073.