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Interrogator intonation and memory encoding performance

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posted on 2019-06-13, 17:50 authored by Silvia Gubi-Kelm, Alexander F. Schmidt

Based on recent findings that interrogator intonation can enhance interrogative suggestibility during recall phases, the present study tested influences of interrogator intonation on memory performance even as early as at the encoding stage. We experimentally manipulated interrogator intonation during encoding of a story to be recalled in immediate and delayed subsequent memory tests (Experiment 1, N = 50). As expected, a symmetrically structuring vs. an isolating-emphasizing speaking style generally increased the amount of freely recalled details. In a more fine-grained experiment (N = 50), we additionally manipulated emphasized story details and tested recall rates for peripheral, neutral, and central items. We found that emphasized peripheral details of the story were easier reproduced than central details realized in a neutral fashion, whereas the opposite pattern emerged for emphasized central details. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for forensic (interrogation) contexts and their legal psychological relevance.