Using metamemory measures and memory tests to estimate eyewitness free recall performance

Renan Benigno Saraiva*, Lorraine Hope, Robert Horselenberg, James Ost, James D. Sauer, Peter J. van Koppen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Using a mock witness methodology, we investigated the predictive value of metamemory measures and objective memory tests as indicators of eyewitness free recall performance. Participants (n = 208) first completed a metamemory assessment that included assessments of self-rated memory capacity, memory development and use of strategies. In a separate session, participants watched a mock-crime video and provided a free recall account, followed by one out of four independent memory tests (i.e., free recall, cued recall, face recognition and general knowledge). Accuracy, amount of details reported, confidence and over/underconfidence in the eyewitness free recall were the main dependent variables. Results indicated three main findings: (1) subjective assessments of memory capacity were not related to eyewitness free recall performance; (2) although individual confidence and over/underconfidence was somewhat stable across different memory tests, accuracy was less stable; and (3) individuals with higher self-rated memory capacity had a slightly stronger confidence-accuracy relation in free recall. These results are discussed with respect to metamemory assessments and performance stability across memory tests of different domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-106
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Early online date7 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


This research was supported by a fellowship award from the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Program the House of Legal Psychology (EMJD-LP) with Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) 2013–0036 and Specific Grant Agreement (SGA) 2013-0036. We thank Joseph Finch, Heidi Mcintosh, and Leigha West for their assistance with data collection and data coding.

FundersFunder number
Heidi Mcintosh
Joseph Finch


    • confidence
    • Eyewitness testimony
    • free recall
    • memory
    • metamemory


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