With the present data, we explored the relations between the language of interviewer questions, children’s reports, and case and child characteristics in forensic interviews. Results clearly indicated that the type of questions posed by interviewers – either probing generic or episodic features of an event – was related to the specificity of information reported by children. Further, interviewers appeared to adjust their questioning strategies based on the frequency of the alleged abuse. Children alleging single instances of abuse were asked more episodic questions than those alleging multiple abuses. In contrast, children alleging multiple incidents of abuse were asked a greater proportion of generic questions. Given that investigators often seek forensically-relevant episodic information, it is recommended that training for investigators focus on recognition of prompt selection tendencies and developing strategies for posing non-suggestive, episodically focused questions.
Schneider, L., Price, H. L., Roberts, K. P. and Hedrick, A. M. (2011), Children's episodic and generic reports of alleged abuse. Appl. Cognit. Psychol., 25: 862–870. doi:10.1002/acp.1759