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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 164793 Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Parent Versus Unfamiliar Interviewers on Children's Eyewitness Memory and Identification Accuracy
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:20  Issue:5  Dated:(October 1996)  Pages:483-500
Author(s): C M Ricci; C R Beal; D J Dekle
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 18
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This research was designed to learn whether children's relationships with interviewers might influence the accuracy of their eyewitness memory and their ability to make identifications from lineups.
Abstract: In two experiments, kindergarten children (5-year-olds) viewed a slide show that depicted a minor theft. Children were then interviewed by either their own parents or an unfamiliar experimenter with either a target-present or target-absent simultaneous photographic lineup. When lineups were presented by parents, children were less accurate, changed their identifications more often, and were more likely to acquiesce with a suggestion about an alternative identification. Children showed poorer recall of the event when interviewed by a parent in an unstructured interview (Experiment 1); however, no differences were observed when parents and experimenters followed the same script (Experiment 2). Overall, results from the current studies support the notion that children's relationship with the interviewer can be an important influence on their recall of an event and, in particular, on their ability to make accurate identifications from lineups. In addition, the findings show that some parents may be likely to adopt ineffective questioning strategies and that, particularly in the case of identifications, their promptings and suggestions may influence children's recognition decisions. Future studies should investigate the possible benefits of training parents in developmentally appropriate questioning methods. 1 table and 58 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile witnesses
Index Term(s): Child victim interviews; Eyewitness memory; Line-up; Suspect identification; Witness credibility
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