Amina Memon & Sarah V. Stevenage (1996) Interviewing Witnesses: What Works and What Doesn't? . Psycoloquy: 7(06) Witness Memory (1)
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Psycoloquy 7(06): Interviewing Witnesses: What Works and What Doesn't?

Target Article by Memon and Stevenage on Witness Memory

Amina Memon & Sarah V. Stevenage
Department of Psychology
University of Southampton
Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom


In a forensic setting a witness is a key contributor. Much research has recently been directed to helping the witness achieve as full and accurate a recall as possible. One of the most promising techniques to emerge is the cognitive interview (CI). Tests of the cognitive interview with young adults suggest that it generates consistent and significant gains in the amount of correct information recalled. However, more recent studies (with adults and children) suggest that the gains are accompanied by an increase in errors and confabulations. These findings have important implications for the cognitive interview as a forensic tool. The following target article critically examines the evidence and raises theoretical and methodological issues arising from work on the CI. In light of the Recovered Memory debate, broader practical implications of this work are considered.


Cognitive interview, errors, eyewitness memory, facilitated recall, police procedures, questioning, recovered memories, structured interview.