The hypothesis that inhibitory control – an aspect of executive functioning – is related to children’s suggestibility was tested. Five- to 7-year-olds (N = 125) participated in a staged event, were suggestively interviewed, and were later given a recognition test. Conflict and interference measures of inhibitory control were taken and compared to children’s ability to identify details from the target event and reject details from non-target sources (i.e., false suggestions, details from prior events). Children with higher than average verbal retroactive inhibition skills were more resistant to suggestions than children with poor inhibitory control. Collectively, age and retroactive inhibition skills accounted for 17% of the variance in suggestibility scores, with each making independent contributions. Three other measures of inhibition did not, however, correlate significantly with resistance to suggestion. The findings are discussed in relation to a multi-component view of eyewitness memory emphasizing links between inhibitory control, suggestibility, and source monitoring.
Roberts, K.P., & Powell, M.B. (2005). The relation between inhibitory control and children's eyewitness memory. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 19, 1003-1018. DOI: 10.1002/acp.1141