The suggestibility of Children's Memory - Lecture 2 Flashcards Preview

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How many times can a child be interviewed before court appearance?

3.5 to 11 times (McGough, 1993)


What are the 6 ways research tries to replicate reality?

1. By being based on staged life-like events
2. By treating children as eye witnesses
3. By changing stress levels that they are under (Rush et al 2014) and secrecy requirements (Gordon et al, 2014)
4. By asking children to recall information after a specific interval
5. By interviewing them several times and with different people who they don't know.
6. By introducing misinformation and suggestibility (Bright and Jarrold, 2009)


What concern still remains after these efforts to replicate reality?

Concerns about ecological validity


What are the 5 dependents involved in attempting to make children's memories accurate?

1. Free Recall
2. Type of question
3. Understanding the question
4. Repeated questioning
5. Suggestibility


What is free recall?

When a child is asked to tell you everything that they can remember (eg. how was your day?)


What does a good study do? What is an example of a good study?

Replicates reality (or seeks to).
An example is Goodman et al's (1990) experiment where 3-5 year olds underwent routine medical procedure which highlighted that they gave no false information in free recall and that most distressed children gave the most accurate reports but 41% made false ID of the nurse.


What did Gordon and Fulmer (1994) reveal?

That 3,5 and 7 year olds showed little intrusion of inaccurate information when asked to free recall about medical examination they had been subjected to.


What are the two types of question that can be asked?

Closed and Open


What did open questions prove about children's memory?

Children showed 91% accuracy about trip to A + E but that open questions are less effective with pre-schoolers (Geddie et al, 2001) because they give less information.


What did closed questions reveal about children's memory?

Decreased accuracy, dropped by 45% accuracy (Petersen et al, 1996).
Conflicting findings for direction of bias in 2-5 year olds (eg. do they answer yes more than no - Fritzley and Lee, 2003).
Still high use in UK investigative interviews (Davies et al, 2000).


What are nonsensical questions?

Things like: Is red heavier than yellow? (Try and make sense out of them)


What did Hughes and Grive (1980) reveal?

- Almost all 5+7 year olds answered nonsensical questions.
- 25% initially said 'I dont know' but when asked again, almost all answered.
- Child answering doesn't imply understanding (not a good enough verification).


What did Waterman et al (2000,2001) reveal?

When asked a closed, nonsensical question, every child offered an answer.
When asked an open, nonsensical question, 95% said 'Don't know'/'don't understand'.
Need to be cautious about meaning of child's answer.


What did Waterman et al, 2001 reveal?

When children were asked a sensible but unanswerable OPEN question (eg. what colour is my car?), they all said 'don't know'.
When asked CLOSED question (Is my car green or red), 76% answered (20% of adults did too).
More 'don't knows' when interviewer absent from event.
When asked a closed question, they take it to mean they should know the answer.


Repeated questioning, what did Poole and White (1991) reveal?

4,6 and 8 year olds witnessed ambiguous event.
Half interviewed immediately and 1 week later, other half only interviewed 1 week later.
Each time, all questions were repeated 3 times.
Open questions, even when repeated, yield good accuracy.
Closed questions, when repeated, younger children likely to change their response both within and across multiple interviews.
Sounded increasingly confident about (inaccurate) answers and even embellished them.


What is suggestibility?

It is the extent to which individuals (either consciously or unconsciously) come to accept and subsequently incorporate post-event information into their memory collections.


What are the two types of suggestibility?

Interrogative and Misinformation effects


What are the results of interviewer bias?

More inaccuracies with biased interviews.
Thompson et al, 1997 undertook an ambiguous event with 5+ 6 year olds (had to decide if behaviour was abusive or not towards dolls).
Neutral interviewer - more errors of commission.
When questioned by parents 2 weeks later, children continued to assent to false events suggested by interviewer.
Biased interviewers rarely pose and test alternative hypotheses.


What is the effect of misinformation?

5 year olds inoculated by paediatrician (Bruck et al, 1995) one year on were all interviewed 4 times (some interviewers offered and suggested false information.
Misleading information was often incorporated into children's report. (eg. that the nurse injected them).
Repeated non-suggested, inaccurate details eg. nurse had checked ears + noses.


What did Salmon and Pipe, 1997 conclude?

That any new information provided by a child after initial (free recall) interview is likely to be inaccurate.


What are the 8 possible explanations for suggestibility effects?

1. Original memory unchanged but irretrievable
2. Gap filling strategy (original memory incomplete)
3. Vacant slot hypothesis
4. Co-existence hypothesis
5. Demand characteristics (social compliance) hypothesis
6. Substitution hypothesis
7. Response bias
8. Source monitoring hypothesis


What is meant by the vacant slot hypothesis?

No memory trace laid down so suggested information is inserted into 'vacant' slot or it was weakly encoded (without suggestibility - 90% accuracy in free recall).


What is meant by the co-existence hypothesis?

When accurate and suggested memory are available and recoverable but 'false' memory is more recent.


What is meant by the demand characteristics (social compliance) hypothesis?

'false' memory is the 'required one (why would an adult try to trick me)


What is meant by the substitution hypothesis?

post event replaces/distorts original


What is meant by response bias?

misleading information biases response and witness chooses 'wrong' response


What is meant by the source monitoring hypothesis?

initial and subsequent representations of event exist but child has difficulty identifying source..


Even if the report is repeated, what can happen?

According to Poole and Lindsay, 1996, young children maintain assent to suggestibility and many cannot recall source of suggestion.


What compromises a pre-schooler's ability to produce child sex abuse (CSA) reports?

Limited memory capacity
Limited language capacity
Limited knowledge about sexual acts - Limited knowledge of severity of sexual abuse.


What did Leaner, 2010 reveal after studying 27 CSA reports (5-17 year olds)?

Second and third interviews generated twice as many (new) sexual details as first interviews and more details and avoidances at first interview compared to subsequent interviews.
2/3 interviews may be needed to enable children to give complete informative reports.