Can composite construction contaminate witness memory?

Turner, Jim; Briggs, Gemma; Pike, Graham and Brace, Nicola (2009). Can composite construction contaminate witness memory? In: The 8th Biennial Conference of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 26-30 Jul 2009, Kyoto, Japan.


Previous research has suggested that exposing a witness to a ‘misleading’ facial composite can affect identification accuracy. In practice it is the process of constructing a facial composite that may have the most effect on witness memory. In the present study, participants were asked to construct a facial composite but were actually presented with a pre-prepared sequence showing a ‘misleading’ composite being constructed. Participants were then shown either an immediate or delayed target-absent identification task, containing a foil similar to the misleading composite. The results of this study are discussed in terms of the malleability and durability of witness memory.

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