Posted on: April 28, 2016 at 3:39 pm
Last updated: September 14, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Closing your eyes can help improve your short term memory, according to a study published in the journal Legal and Criminology Psychology.

Researchers at the University of Surrey conducted a study which consisted of two experiments to determine if closing one’s eyes could help them remember details of certain events, specifically crime-related events. The purpose of the study was to find a way for investigators to get more accurate recollections from the witnesses of crimes.


The study had a total of 178 participants. During the first experiment, participants watched a film that showed an electrician entering a house he was working on, carrying out his job and stealing items from the house as he did so.

After watching the film, each participant was told to do a combination of the following four things: keep their eyes open or keep their eyes shut, and build a rapport with the interviewer or to not build a rapport with the interviewer. The interviewer then asked them questions about visual details of the video and what it was portraying.

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After the first experiment, researchers found that having the participants close their eyes led to a 23% increase in accuracy when answering questions.

During the second experiment, participants watched a video showing the reconstruction of a home invasion. Researchers further tested the participants memory by asking them audio details about the video as well as visual details.

The experiment showed that closing their eyes helped participants remember both audio and visual details of the video, whether they developed a relationship with the interviewer or not. However, throughout both experiments, participants noted that they felt less comfortable closing their eyes when they did not build a rapport with the interviewer.

This suggests that building a relationship with witnesses increases their comfort with having their eyes closed, while having their eyes closed improves their memory, according to lead study author Dr. Robert Nash.


“It is clear from our research that closing the eyes and building rapport helps with witness recall,” Nash said. “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.”

This shows that closing one’s eyes can help improve their short-term memory regardless of what type of situation they are in.


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