Lateral Eye Movements Do Not Increase False-Memory Rates: A Failed Direct-Replication Study

Kevin van Schie*, Arne Leer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In this direct replication of Houben, Otgaar, Roelofs, and Merckelbach (Clinical Psychological Science, 6, 610–616, 2018), we tested whether making eye movements during memory recall increases susceptibility to creating false memories. Undergraduates (N = 206) watched a video of a car crash, after which they recalled the video with or without simultaneously making eye movements. Next, participants received misinformation about the video. Finally, during the critical test, they were questioned about video details. The results showed that making eye movements did not increase endorsement of misinformation (i.e., false memory), nor did it reduce (correct) memory details or memory vividness and emotionality. Random variation in sampling or measurement, low reliability of the test instrument, and observer-expectancy effects may explain discrepancies between study effects. Only multiple direct replications by different (independent) laboratories with standardized instruments will allow for assessing whether the effect is robust and largely independent of random variation and moderators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1167
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • EMDR
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
  • eyewitness testimony
  • false memory
  • memory performance
  • open data
  • open materials
  • PTSD


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