Examining the Effects of Violence and Personality on Eyewitness Memory




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Taylor and Francis



Peer reviewed



Witnesses play a key role in criminal investigations. Research in estimator variables has aided criminal justice practitioners to estimate, post hoc, the likelihood of obtaining accurate testimony from a specific witness. Nonetheless, only a few studies have examined how violence and personality influence memory. The present study examines both variables with a student sample (N D 53). Participants were randomly divided between those who viewed a crime involving physical violence (n D 24) and those who watched an event that did not include physical violence (n D 29). Results found that physical violence increased the quantity of information recalled, and Honesty personality domain was positively correlated with memory performance. Nonetheless, the relationship between personality domains and memory performance appeared to be influenced and modified by the presence of physical violence. Under violent conditions personality domains of Emotionality and Openness appeared to be related with decreased memory accuracy, whereas Contentiousness appeared to be related with increased memory accuracy. This study enables a clearer picture to emerge of the effect that violence and personality have on memory and seeds the idea that claiming linear relationships between estimator variables and memory may be over-simplistic as variables appeared to be related among them when influencing eyewitness memory


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


crime, eyewitness memory, memory performance, personality, violence


Pajon, L. and Walsh, D. (2017) Examining the Effects of Violence and Personality on Eyewitness Memory. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 24 (6), pp. 923-935


Research Institute

Centre for Law, Justice and Society