Eyewitnesses to crimes are regularly under the influence of drugs, such as cannabis. Yet there is very little research on how the use of cannabis affects eyewitness memory. In the present study, we assessed the effects of cannabis on eyewitness recall and lineup identification performance in a field setting. One hundred twenty visitors of coffee shops in Amsterdam viewed a videotaped criminal event, were interviewed about the event, and viewed a target-present or target-absent lineup. Witnesses under the influence of cannabis remembered significantly fewer correct details about the witnessed event than did sober witnesses, with no difference in incorrect recall. Cannabis use was not significantly associated with lineup identification performance, but intoxicated witnesses were significantly better at judging whether their lineup identification was accurate. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
- Eyewitness memory
- Lineup identification