Recall, verbatim memory and remembered narratives

James Ost, Tim Grant, Gary Pankhurst, Alan Scoboria

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Memory is central to investigative interviews with witnesses and suspects, yet decades of research have shown that remembering is subject to constructive and reconstructive processes that can adversely impact the reliability of accounts that are elicited at interview. In this chapter we first outline research concerning our memory for events (‘episodic memory’) before moving on to discuss the ways in which our attempts to validate and communicate those memories can bias what is eventually reported. We then focus on some of the implications this can have for investigative interviews, specifically the problem of ‘skill fade’ in interviewing, the impact of implicit beliefs about memory and issues surrounding the reliability of recollections of direct speech. We conclude that appropriately structuring the retrieval context is the key to achieving best memory evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunication in investigative and legal contexts
Subtitle of host publicationintegrated approaches from forensic psychology, linguistics and law enforcement
EditorsGavin Oxburgh, Trond Myklebust, Tim Grant, Rebecca Milne
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-118-76913-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-76923-2, 978-1-118-76922-5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

Publication series

NameSeries in psychology of crime, policing and law


  • memory
  • retrieval
  • interviewing
  • validation
  • communication
  • direct speech


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