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Can't seem to remember things? All you need to do is…

Can't remember that important password? Try closing your eyes! While trying to recall events it increases the chances of accuracy and also helps one recall both audio and visual details, a new study suggests.

health and fitness Updated: Jan 19, 2015 19:16 IST
Closing-your-eyes-can-also-help-you-recall-both-audio-and-visual-details-Photo-Shutterstock
Closing-your-eyes-can-also-help-you-recall-both-audio-and-visual-details-Photo-Shutterstock

Can't remember that important password? Try closing your eyes!

Closing your eyes when trying to recall events increases the chances of accuracy, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of Surrey in UK have found further evidence to suggest that eyewitnesses to crimes remember more accurate details when they close their eyes.

The team also discovered that building a rapport with witnesses helped them to remember more.

As many as 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% 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.

The second experiment took the memory task one step further, by asking witnesses about things they had heard, as well as things they had seen.

This time, participants watched a clip from Crimewatch, showing a reconstruction of a burglary where an elderly man was attacked in his home.

Results showed that closing their eyes helped participants recall both audio and visual details, both when they had built rapport and when they had not.

Across both experiments, participants who did not build rapport said they felt less comfortable when they closed their eyes, compared to when they kept their eyes open.

In contrast, participants who built rapport felt more comfortable when they closed their eyes.

"It is clear from our research that closing the eyes and building rapport help with witness recall," said lead author Dr Robert Nash from the University of Surrey.

"Although closing your eyes to remember seems to work whether or not rapport has been built beforehand, our results show that building rapport makes witnesses more at ease with closing their eyes," said Nash.

The study was published in the journal Legal and Criminology Psychology.