Age trends in eye-witness suggestibility and compliance

Julie Robinson, Pamela Briggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper addresses two issues: whether there is a developmental trend in suggestibility to misleading post-event information, and whether suggestibility can be reduced by use of part of the cognitive interview. Twenty participants from each of three age groups (four-to-five year olds, eight-to-nine year olds and adults) watched a filmed event, and half of the participants in each age group were subsequently asked to recall everything they had seen using a method derived from the cognitive interview procedure. Following this, all participants were asked questions about the filmed event, some of which incorporated misleading information. Twenty four hours later the witnesses were interviewed again, this time critical questions were included about the truth of the presuppositions introduced in the initial questionnaire. It was found that although the eight-to-nine year olds were more suggestible than adults, the apparent greater suggestibility of very young children (four-to-five years) could potentially be explained in terms of heightened compliance to the perceived demands of the interviewer. The 'be complete' part of the cognitive interview only produced an improvement in performance for the eight-to-nine year olds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-202
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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