Children’s Reports of Pleasant and Unpleasant Events
In the past decade, there has been an exponential increase in research on the accuracy of young children’s memories and the degree to which young children’s memories and reports can be molded by suggestions implanted by adult interviewers. Several important findings have emerged from this research. On the one hand, the results of a number of studies of children’s autobiographical recall or memory for events indicate that children’s recall is at times highly accurate and at times quite detailed about a large range of events (e.g., Baker-Ward, Gordon, Ornstein, Larus, & Clubb, 1993; Parker, Bahrick, Lundy, Fivush, & Levitt, in press; poster abstract this volume; Peterson & Bell, 1996). On the other hand there are also a number of studies that highlight the weaknesses of young children’s reports of past events when they are interviewed under certain conditions; of particular interest is the suggestibility of children. Until recently, most suggestibility studies examined the influence of a single misleading suggestion on children’s recall of an event. Generally, these studies indicated that in a variety of conditions young children are more suggestible than adults with preschoolers being more vulnerable than any other age group (see Ceci & Bruck, 1993, for a review of this literature).
KeywordsChild Sexual Abuse False Memory Unpleasant Event Suggestive Technique False Event
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