Psychologists once believed that memory was the result of a single-unitary memory system, and that memory was representative of a video recording. However, recent research has found that memory is malleable, and different factors can attribute to the accuracy of memory. Factors include internal bias, time since event, level of rehearsal, and outside influences. Specifically, the concept of false memories in regards to eyewitness testimony has garnered the attention of researchers. Prior research regarding false memories has looked at the impact of leading questions on memory accuracy. This study aims to explore the impact of leading questions on false memories utilizing virtual reality. The purpose of this study is to explore the impact virtual reality has on memory accuracy. It is believed that an immersive environment- such as a virtual reality scene- can affect how present an individual feels in the environment. The current study hypothesizes that the more present an individual feels in the environment, the less likely is it for them to be susceptible to false memories. This study used a 2×2×2 independent groups factorial design, with participants randomly assigned to each condition. The factors were immersion level (immersive vs. non-immersive display), virtual agent speed (accelerated vs. mirrored), and type of questions (leading vs. neutral). The results showed an association between leading questions and level of immersion, with the false memory effect apparent in the screen-based condition. The results of this study can help with the reliability in eyewitness testimony.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Gonzalez, Gabriela N., "Performance In VR" (2020). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 709.