The team also discovered that building a rapport with witnesses helped them to remember more. 178 participants took part across two studies. In the first experiment, participants watched a film depicting an electrician entering a property, carrying out jobs and stealing items.
Each participant was then randomly assigned one of four conditions, either eyes closed or open, and having built up a rapport with the interviewer or not. They were then asked a series of questions about the film, such as, “What was written on the front of the van?” The team found that closing their eyes led participants to answer 23 per cent more of the questions correctly. Building rapport also increased the number of correct answers, however, closing their eyes was effective regardless of whether rapport had been built or not.