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Adult memory for specific instances of a repeated event: a preliminary review

Dilevski, Natali; Paterson, Helen M.; Walker, Sarah A.; van Golde, Celine


Natali Dilevski

Helen M. Paterson

Celine van Golde


In cases of repeated victimisation, a complainant’s statement of abuse, and therefore memory, is often critical evidence for forensic investigations and legal proceedings. It is therefore important to understand the functioning of adults’ memory for repeated events. As such, the purpose of this paper was to review the extant literature on adult memory for instances of a repeated event. The results of the review revealed a small number of heterogeneous studies on adult repeated-event memory (N = 12). The literature so far shows that while adults might have difficulty in recalling information specific to instances (narrow accuracy), they are capable of remembering information across multiple instances (broad accuracy). It was also found that several factors may impact recall of instances including age, the number of experienced instances, rehearsing an event, repeated retrieval and event distinctiveness. The discussion highlights the forensic implications of this research and future research directions.


Dilevski, N., Paterson, H. M., Walker, S. A., & van Golde, C. (2021). Adult memory for specific instances of a repeated event: a preliminary review. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 28(5), 711-732.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Dec 17, 2020
Publication Date Sep 3, 2021
Deposit Date Feb 13, 2024
Journal Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Print ISSN 1321-8719
Electronic ISSN 1934-1687
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 5
Pages 711-732
Public URL