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Over the limit: Highly intoxicated witnesses’ ability to recall an event

Conference contribution
Authors Christopher Altman
Nadja Schreiber Compo
Angelica Hagsand
Dawn McQuiston
Jiselle Cervera
Published in American Psychology Law Society (AP-LS) annual conference. Seattle, USA: 16-18 March
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords alcohol, witnesses, field study, high breath alcohol concentrations
Subject categories Psychology, Applied Psychology


Although intoxicated witnesses often exceed the legal BAC limit, few studies have examined how elevated BAC levels (>.08) affect eyewitness memory. This study tested witnesses’ memory across a broader BAC spectrum. Bar patrons were recruited (N =138) to watch a mock crime video. Immediately after, participants were interviewed using open-ended and cued questions. Alcohol diminished participants’ recall quantity and quality, but only those who were highly intoxicated (BAC >.13). Findings suggest the BAC levels frequently tested do not fully unveil the impairments highly intoxicated witnesses experience. Implications for collecting evidence from intoxicated witnesses are discussed.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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