Effects of Self-Reported Sleep Measures on Eyewitness Recall and Identification

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Summer 2022


DNA exonerations have revealed eyewitness misidentification to be one of the leading factors of innocent incarcerations (www.innocenceproject.org). Research has supported the crucial role of sleep in memory formation and retention, but sparce research has investigated how sleep may impact eyewitness memory (e.g., Morgan et al., 2019; Stepan et al., 2017; Thorley, 2013). This thesis seeks to investigate the role of self-reported pre-encoding sleep quality, duration, and current sleepiness on eyewitness central and peripheral recall, and facial recognition memory. If these self-reported measures are predictive of eyewitness accuracy, law enforcement may be able to differentiate between high and low quality eyewitnesses by askingwitnesses simple questions about their sleep the night before a crime. Across two experiments investigating either lineups or showups, participants viewed a mock-crime video, provided recent sleep data, answered recall questions regarding the crime, and made an identification decision.


Curt A. Carlson

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences