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The Sleeping Witness – Sleep’s Effect on Memory in a Witness Situation

Nicolaisen, Elizabeth LU and Sjöberg, Annamaria LU (2018) PSYK11 20172
Department of Psychology
Abstract
Previous studies have shown that sleep strengthens memory. The current study has put this into a real-life context and study sleep’s effect on witness testimony.
The 18 participants watched a video of a fictitious assault, and after a 12-hour delay, where half stayed awake during the day, and half slept during the night. They answered a questionnaire about the video, as a memory test. The questions were divided into different categories of interest such as facts surrounding the assault, time estimation of e.g. the duration of the assault, and the aggressiveness of the perpetrators. The participants were then asked to identify a perpetrator in a picture line-up. They also reported their confidence estimation for each answer they gave.
The... (More)
Previous studies have shown that sleep strengthens memory. The current study has put this into a real-life context and study sleep’s effect on witness testimony.
The 18 participants watched a video of a fictitious assault, and after a 12-hour delay, where half stayed awake during the day, and half slept during the night. They answered a questionnaire about the video, as a memory test. The questions were divided into different categories of interest such as facts surrounding the assault, time estimation of e.g. the duration of the assault, and the aggressiveness of the perpetrators. The participants were then asked to identify a perpetrator in a picture line-up. They also reported their confidence estimation for each answer they gave.
The results showed that there was no significant difference between the groups’ memory performance for fact questions, time estimations, aggressiveness estimations or the ability to identify a perpetrator in a line-up. Even though sleep did not improve overall memory performance, it made the participants who slept rate their confidence in their answers higher.
Conclusion: sleep did not improve memory, affect the perceived aggressiveness, or identification in the line-up, but it did increase the confidence estimation of the sleeping participants’ answers. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Tidigare forskning har visat på att sömn stärker minnen. Denna studie ämnade att utforska detta i en verklig situation genom att studera sömns effekt på vittnesmål.
De 18 deltagarna fick se en video av en fiktiv misshandel och efter 12 timmar, där hälften av deltagarna var vakna under dagen och andra hälften av deltagarna sov under natten. De fick svara på ett minnestest om videon. Frågorna var indelade i olika kategorier av intresse, som faktafrågor kring händelsen i videon, tidsuppskattning av t.ex. misshandeln och frågor om gärningsmännens aggressivitet. Deltagarna fick sedan peka ut en misstänkt ur en line-up av bilder. Deltagarna fick även rapportera hur säkra de var på deras svar.
Resultatet visade att det inte fanns någon... (More)
Tidigare forskning har visat på att sömn stärker minnen. Denna studie ämnade att utforska detta i en verklig situation genom att studera sömns effekt på vittnesmål.
De 18 deltagarna fick se en video av en fiktiv misshandel och efter 12 timmar, där hälften av deltagarna var vakna under dagen och andra hälften av deltagarna sov under natten. De fick svara på ett minnestest om videon. Frågorna var indelade i olika kategorier av intresse, som faktafrågor kring händelsen i videon, tidsuppskattning av t.ex. misshandeln och frågor om gärningsmännens aggressivitet. Deltagarna fick sedan peka ut en misstänkt ur en line-up av bilder. Deltagarna fick även rapportera hur säkra de var på deras svar.
Resultatet visade att det inte fanns någon signifikant skillnad mellan gruppernas minnesprestation när det kom till faktafrågor, tidsuppskattning, uppskattning av gärningsmännens aggressivitet eller deras förmåga att identifiera någon från line-upen. Även om sömn inte hade en stärkande effekt på den totala minneprestationen, så bedömde de deltagarna som sov att de kände sig säkrare i sina svar.
Slutsats: sömn förbättrade inte minnesprestation, förändrade inte deltagarnas skattning av aggressivitet eller utpekande i line-upen, men ökade de sovande deltagarnas konfidensskattning för svaren de gav. (Less)
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author
Nicolaisen, Elizabeth LU and Sjöberg, Annamaria LU
supervisor
organization
course
PSYK11 20172
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
sleep, witness testimony, emotional memory, line-up
language
English
id
8960048
date added to LUP
2018-10-09 16:59:44
date last changed
2018-10-09 16:59:44
@misc{8960048,
  abstract     = {Previous studies have shown that sleep strengthens memory. The current study has put this into a real-life context and study sleep’s effect on witness testimony.
The 18 participants watched a video of a fictitious assault, and after a 12-hour delay, where half stayed awake during the day, and half slept during the night. They answered a questionnaire about the video, as a memory test. The questions were divided into different categories of interest such as facts surrounding the assault, time estimation of e.g. the duration of the assault, and the aggressiveness of the perpetrators. The participants were then asked to identify a perpetrator in a picture line-up. They also reported their confidence estimation for each answer they gave.
The results showed that there was no significant difference between the groups’ memory performance for fact questions, time estimations, aggressiveness estimations or the ability to identify a perpetrator in a line-up. Even though sleep did not improve overall memory performance, it made the participants who slept rate their confidence in their answers higher.
Conclusion: sleep did not improve memory, affect the perceived aggressiveness, or identification in the line-up, but it did increase the confidence estimation of the sleeping participants’ answers.},
  author       = {Nicolaisen, Elizabeth and Sjöberg, Annamaria},
  keyword      = {sleep,witness testimony,emotional memory,line-up},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Sleeping Witness – Sleep’s Effect on Memory in a Witness Situation},
  year         = {2018},
}