How elevated blood alcohol concentration level and identification format affect eyewitness memory: A field study Article

Altman, CM, McQuiston, DE, Schreiber Compo, N. (2019). How elevated blood alcohol concentration level and identification format affect eyewitness memory: A field study . 33(3), 426-438. 10.1002/acp.3535

cited authors

  • Altman, CM; McQuiston, DE; Schreiber Compo, N

abstract

  • Research shows that alcohol has a small and inconsistent effect on eyewitness recall and no effect on witnesses' lineup decisions. Much of this literature has tested participants with low-to-moderate blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, and no study has directly examined how identification procedure impacts intoxicated witnesses' decisions. In the present study, bar patrons' (N = 132) BAC levels were recorded before participating in a task. Midway through the task, they were interrupted by an intruder. Participants then recalled the incident via a staged interview and attempted to identify the intruder from a target-present or target-absent showup or lineup. Although elevated BAC levels (high as 0.24%) reduced the quantity and quality of information provided, BAC had no effect on witnesses' identification decisions regardless of format. Results highlight the importance of testing witness memory across a broad BAC spectrum and provide evidence that alcohol does not affect witnesses' identification ability.

publication date

  • May 1, 2019

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 426

end page

  • 438

volume

  • 33

issue

  • 3