Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Qin Zhao (Director), Sharon Mutter, and Jenni Redifer

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


Suggestibility occurs when inaccurate information is incorporated into currently existing memories. The present study examined the effect of forewarning on suggestibility, including the influence of working memory capacity (WMC). The main hypotheses are that forewarnings will reduce suggestibility compared to the control group and that high-WMC will yield lower suggestibility compared to medium- and low-WMC. The final hypothesis is that WMC and forewarning will interact such that low-WMC individuals will benefit more than high-WMC individuals from the forewarning. A sample of 123 college students was recruited. Participants watched a clip of the TV-show 24. WMC was then assessed followed by the presentation of a misleading narrative. Prior to listening to the narrative, they read a set of instructions that sometimes contained the forewarning. After listening to the misleading narrative, participants took a test over their memories of the film. A 2 X 3 ANOVA was conducted and found a main effect for forewarning. No other effect was significant. The current results only support the first main hypothesis that forewarning reduces suggestibility. These results could be used to help prepare eyewitnesses to resist misinformation in the period between witnessing an event and reporting the event during a later trial.


Cognitive Psychology | Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Psychology