Eyes Wide Shut: Key to a Keener Memory?

Eyes Wide Shut: Key to a Keener Memory?

Eyes Wide Shut: Key to a Keener Memory?

Study volunteers had better recall of details in video depicting crimes if they closed their eyes

SOURCE: University of Surrey, news release, Jan. 15, 2015

THURSDAY, Jan. 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Got your heart set on a career as a detective? Here's a clue that may help you crack that first big case.

A new study suggests that asking eyewitnesses to close their eyes when trying to recall events may boost their memories.

The study included 178 volunteers who were shown videos of people committing crimes and were then asked to recall details of the crime. The volunteers' memories of what they'd seen and heard was more likely to be accurate if they closed their eyes while being interviewed, the study found.

Having a good rapport with the interviewer also helped the volunteers' memories, according to the study published Jan. 16 in the journal Legal and Criminology Psychology.

"It is clear from our research that closing the eyes and building rapport help with witness recall," study author Robert Nash, of the University of Surrey in Great Britain, said in a university news release.

"Although closing your eyes to remember seems to work whether or not rapport has been built beforehand, our results show that building rapport makes witnesses more at ease with closing their eyes. That in itself is vital if we are to encourage witnesses to use this helpful technique during interviews," he added.

More information

To learn more about memory, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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