Eyewitness Evidence Obtained with the Self-Administered Interview© Is Unaffected by Stress

Alana Krix, Melanie Sauerland, Linsey Raymaekers, Amina Memon, Connie Quadeflieg, Tom Smeets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Self-Administered Interview© (SAI) serves to elicit eyewitness statements directly after the crime. Witnesses could still experience stress then. Because stress during retrieval produces memory-impairing effects, this study sought to compare the SAI with free recall under stress. An interaction between stress and interview was expected such that the SAI would elicit more comprehensive accounts than free recall in the control, but not in the stress group. One hundred and twenty-seven participants underwent a stress or control task. They witnessed a live staged crime and completed an SAI or a free recall. The SAI elicited a higher number of correct verifiable event details and a higher number of correct and incorrect perpetrator details than free re- call. Accuracy rates were unaffected. Unexpectedly, despite causing moderate stress-induced cortisol elevations, stress exposure did not influence memory performance and did not interact with interview type. Hence, the SAI can safely be used, when witnesses are moderately stressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date26 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Cite this