Earwitness memory: Distortions for voice pitch and speaking rate

John W. Mullennix, Steven E. Stern, Benjamin Grounds, Rob Kalas, Mary Flaherty, Sara Kowalok, Eric May, Brian Tessmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In two experiments, memory distortions for voice pitch and speaking rate were examined. In both experiments, a significant distortion effect for voice pitch was observed, with listeners biased towards selecting voices lower in pitch than low-pitch targets and selecting voices higher in pitch than highpitch targets. In contrast, for speaking rate there was little evidence for the production of memory distortions. The results are discussed in terms of transient surface properties of speech and how transience may be a factor in producing distortions. The results have implications for how errors arise during earwitness testimony for a suspect's voice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-526
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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