This study examined the impact of linking misleading information to a particular occurrence of a repeated event. Children aged 5- to 6-years took part in the same staged event four times and 16 target details varied in each occurrence (e.g., the colour of a cloak varied each time). Three days or three weeks later they were asked questions, some of which included false information, about the final occurrence. The next day, the children were required to recall what happened in the final occurrence. Compared to children whose biasing interview was not focused on any particular occurrence of the repeated event, linking the biasing interview to the final occurrence increased the number of suggested details that were reported. Interestingly, the children whose biasing interview was not focused on any occurrence were also less likely to report the false suggestions than another group of children who had only experienced the event once and whose biasing interview was linked to that single occurrence. These findings have implications for how lawyers and investigative interviewers question children about multiple incidents.
Powell, M.B., Roberts, K.P., & Thomson, D.M. (2000). The effect of a suggestive interview on children’s memory of a repeated event: Does it matter whether suggestions are linked to a particular incident? Psychiatry, Psychology, & Law, 7, 182-191. DOI: 10.1080/13218710009524984