oseph Giel, 90, closes his eyes to recall something while he takes a mini-mental status exam as a research participant. (Lezlie Sterling/Sacramento Bee/MCT)
Joseph Giel, 90, closes his eyes to recall something while he takes a mini-mental status exam as a research participant. (Lezlie Sterling/Sacramento Bee/MCT)

For students taking a test, recalling information studied the night before can be stressful. Closing your eyes may in fact help you recall more information when it’s crunch time in the testing center or if you happen to be an eyewitness to a crime.

A new study published in the journal “Legal and Criminological Psychology” by the University of Surrey suggests that eyewitnesses to crimes remember more accurate details when they close their eyes. The study surveyed 178 participants in two studies.

In the first experiment, the participants watched a film of a plumber entering an establishment, performing a job and stealing objects. Each participant was randomly assigned to have their eyes open or closed, some having built a rapport with the interviewer. Participants were then asked questions about the film. The study showed that participants who closed their eyes were able to answer 23 percent more correctly, regardless of the rapport with the interviewer.

Although the rapport aspect of the study did not have any bearing on the accuracy of information the participants reported, participants did feel more comfortable closing their eyes with interviewers that had built rapport with the participants.

The second experiment asked witnesses about things they had heard, as well as things they had seen from a clip from Crimewatch. The results showed that the participants who closed their eyes found it easier to recall both audio and visual details.

Researchers believe that this technique will help eye witnesses recall more accurate information during interviews.

The next time you are struggling to recall the answer to a question on an exam, but you’re sure you studied it, try closing your eyes.

Information compiled from Sciencedaily.com

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