Eyewitness Identification Accuracy: The Influence of Olfactory Stimuli Used as a Form of Context Reinstatement

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Fraser, Bailey May




The purpose of the current study was to examine the influence of olfactory stimuli used as a form of context reinstatement (CR) on eyewitness identification and recall accuracy. Participants (N = 184) attended two sessions. In session one, participants viewed a crime video and then completed the recall task. Participants returned for session two one week later where they completed the recall and lineup task. In each session, participants were randomly assigned to either the scent or no scent condition. A trend was found for a higher correct identification rate and a higher correct rejection rate when encoding and retrieval sessions matched versus mismatched. Scent did not influence the number of descriptors or proportion of accurate descriptors recalled. Overall, the results from the current study suggest that scent may have a minimal influence on eyewitness accuracy when used as a form of CR. Implications and future directions are discussed.


Psychology - Experimental
Psychology - Cognitive




Carleton University

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