Department of Psychology
When children allege repeated abuse, they are required to provide details about specific instances. This often results in children confusing details from different instances and so we examined whether ‘mental context reinstatement’ (MCR) could be used to improve children’s accuracy. Children (N = 120, 6-7-year olds) participated in 4 activities over a 2-week period and were interviewed about the last (4th) time with a standard recall or mental context reinstatement interview. They were then asked questions about specific details, and some questions contained false information. When interviewed again a day later, children in the MCR condition resisted false suggestions that were consistent with the event more than false suggestions that were inconsistent; in contrast, children in the standard interview condition were equally suggestible for both false detail types and showed a ‘yes bias’. The results suggest a practical way of eliciting more accurate information from child witnesses.
Drohan-Jennings, D. Roberts, K.P., & Powell, M.B. (2010). Mental context reinstatement increases resistance to misleading suggestions. Psychiatry, Psychology, & Law, 17, 594-606. DOI: 10.1080/13218711003739110