Behav Sci Law 2015 Aug;33(4):407-28
Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.
The current study investigated effects of simulated memory impairment on recall of child sexual abuse (CSA) information. A total of 144 adults were tested for memory of a written CSA scenario in which they role-played as the victim. There were four experimental groups and two testing sessions. During Session 1, participants read a CSA story and recalled it truthfully (Genuine group), omitted CSA information (Omission group), exaggerated CSA information (Commission group), or did not recall the story at all (No Rehearsal group). One week later, at Session 2, all participants were told to recount the scenario truthfully, and their memory was then tested using free recall and cued recall questions. The Session 1 manipulation affected memory accuracy during Session 2. Specifically, compared with the Genuine group's performance, the Omission, Commission, or No Rehearsal groups' performance was characterized by increased omission and commission errors and decreased reporting of correct details. Victim blame ratings (i.e., victim responsibility and provocativeness) and participant gender predicted increased error and decreased accuracy, whereas perpetrator blame ratings predicted decreased error and increased accuracy. Findings are discussed in relation to factors that may affect memory for CSA information.