…results contradicted the researchers’ expectations. Based on alcoholic myopia theory (a loss of memory for peripheral details), they predicted that the intoxicated participants would match the controls when the culprit was present, but would make more incorrect identifications when he was absent.
The results also clash with the common sense beliefs of the general public that drunk witnesses will be less reliable than sober witnesses. Given how common it is for witnesses to crimes to be intoxicated, there’s been surprisingly little research on how alcohol affects eyewitness performance. Sure, this study has its limitations – the alcohol levels used were only moderate and the crime wasn’t a real event – but it makes a welcome contribution to a neglected research area.