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Children's false memory and true disclosure in the face of repeated questions.

Research paper by Jennifer M JM Schaaf, Kristen Weede KW Alexander, Gail S GS Goodman

Indexed on: 07 Dec '07Published on: 07 Dec '07Published in: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology



Abstract

The current study was designed to investigate children's memory and suggestibility for events differing in valence (positive or negative) and veracity (true or false). A total of 82 3- and 5-year-olds were asked repeated questions about true and false events, either in a grouped order (i.e., all questions about a certain event asked consecutively) or in a nongrouped order (i.e., questions about a certain event were interspersed with questions about other events). Interviewer gender was also varied. Individual differences, including attachment style, inhibition, and behavioral adjustment, were examined as potential predictors of memory and suggestibility. Results revealed significant age, valence, and veracity effects on children's memory reports. Path analysis demonstrated that individual differences in behavioral problems and inhibitory ability predicted children's provision of inaccurate information. Implications for psychological theory and legal application are discussed.