Six- to 7-year-olds (N = 130) participated in classroom activities four times. The children were interviewed about the final occurrence (target event) either a week or a month later, during which half of the event items were inaccurately described. Half of these suggestions were consistent with the theme of the detail across the occurrences (e.g., always sat on a kind of floor mat) or were inconsistent (e.g., sat on a chair). When memory for the target event was tested a day later, children falsely recognized fewer inconsistent than consistent suggestions, especially compared to a control group of children who experienced the event just one time. Further, the longer delay reduced accuracy only for consistent suggestions. Source-monitoring ability was strongly and positively related to resistance to suggestions, and encouraging children to identify the source of false suggestions allowed them to retract a significant proportion of their reports of inconsistent, but not consistent, suggestions. The results suggest that the gist consistency of suggestions determines whether event repetition increases or decreases suggestibility.
Roberts, K.P., & Powell, M.B. (2006). The consistency of false suggestions moderates children’s reports of a single instance of a repeated event: Predicting increases and decreases in suggestibility. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 94, 68-89. Doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2005.12.003