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Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications


Misinformation, Retrieval enhanced suggestibility, Repeated testing, Attention allocation


Research has consistently demonstrated that testing prior to the presentation of misleading post-event information, within the context of a standard eyewitness misinformation paradigm, results in an increase in the misinformation effect. The present study investigated whether changes in misinformation susceptibility in the context of interim testing are affected by retention interval differences between misinformation presentation and final testing. Further, this study tested possible divergences in original and post-event learning between conditions where elaboration in processing of critical details was encouraged either indirectly, via interim testing, or directly, by visually emphasizing critical details. In two experiments, we compared three groups of participants. All participants were exposed to an event, presented with misleading post-event misinformation, and then given a final test on the original event. One group was given an interim test between the original event and the post-event synopsis. A second was presented with a post-event synopsis in which critical details were visually emphasized. A third group served as a baseline comparison group for which synopsis processing was not manipulated. All experimental phases occurred in a single session in Experiment 1. A 48-hour retention interval was inserted between the post-event synopsis and final test in Experiment 2. In Experiment 1, we found that interim testing and emphasizing critical details increased misinformation susceptibility as compared to that found in the standard misinformation group. In Experiment 2, misinformation susceptibility was reduced in the interim testing group. These results suggest that interim testing and emphasizing critical details influence the rate of original detail forgetting. At a longer retention interval, the benefits of testing in learning emerged.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.