The second experiment took the memory task one step further, by asking witnesses about things they had heard, as well as things they had seen. This time, participants watched a clip from Crimewatch, showing a reconstruction of a burglary where an elderly man was attacked in his home. Results showed that closing their eyes helped participants recall both audio and visual details, both when they had built rapport and when they had not.
Across both experiments, participants who did not build rapport said they felt less comfortable when they closed their eyes, compared to when they kept their eyes open. In contrast, participants who built rapport felt more comfortable when they closed their eyes.
“It is clear from our research that closing the eyes and building rapport help with witness recall,” said lead author Dr Robert Nash from the University of Surrey.
“Although closing your eyes to remember seems to work whether or not rapport has been built beforehand, our results show that building rapport makes witnesses more at ease with closing their eyes. That in itself is vital if we are to encourage witnesses to use this helpful technique during interviews.”
Peter La, Press Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: +44 (0)1483 689191, or Email firstname.lastname@example.org