Alcohol intoxication impairs memory and increases suggestibility for a mock crime

A field study

K. Van Oorsouw, H. Merckelbach, T. Smeets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Defendants and witnesses are often intoxicated by alcohol. We investigated whether memory and resistance to suggestive cues are undermined at blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) that were (close to) zero (MBAC = 0.01%), moderate (MBAC = 0.06%), or high (MBAC = 0.16%). Participants (N = 67) were approached in bars and instructed to commit a mock crime. Immediately after this, their memory and susceptibility to suggestive questions were tested, and these were re‐tested during a sober follow‐up 3–5 days later. Compared with sober participants, moderate and severe intoxication was associated with lower levels of correctly recalled crime details during both test sessions (i.e. intoxicated and sober). Also, during both sessions, severely intoxicated participants displayed a greater tendency to go along with suggestive cues compared with sober participants. Thus, intoxication impaired memory and increased suggestibility during an immediate interview, and both effects persisted when sober again.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-501
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Alcoholic Intoxication
Cues
Alcohols
Interviews
Intoxication
Alcohol
Crime
Suggestibility

Cite this

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abstract = "Defendants and witnesses are often intoxicated by alcohol. We investigated whether memory and resistance to suggestive cues are undermined at blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) that were (close to) zero (MBAC = 0.01{\%}), moderate (MBAC = 0.06{\%}), or high (MBAC = 0.16{\%}). Participants (N = 67) were approached in bars and instructed to commit a mock crime. Immediately after this, their memory and susceptibility to suggestive questions were tested, and these were re‐tested during a sober follow‐up 3–5 days later. Compared with sober participants, moderate and severe intoxication was associated with lower levels of correctly recalled crime details during both test sessions (i.e. intoxicated and sober). Also, during both sessions, severely intoxicated participants displayed a greater tendency to go along with suggestive cues compared with sober participants. Thus, intoxication impaired memory and increased suggestibility during an immediate interview, and both effects persisted when sober again.",
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Alcohol intoxication impairs memory and increases suggestibility for a mock crime : A field study. / Van Oorsouw, K.; Merckelbach, H.; Smeets, T.

In: Applied Cognitive Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 4, 2015, p. 493-501.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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