Parental Coaching and Children's Reports of Nonexperienced Events: The Contributions of Forgetting, Source Monitoring, and Acquiesence

  • Poole, Debra (PI)
  • Lindsay, D. Stephen (CoPI)

Grant Details


9409231 POOLE This project will use a powerful new suggestibility manipulation to examine several important issues concerning the strengths and weaknesses of children as witnesses. The technique, an analog of parental involvement in false allegations of abuse, is fully piloted and involves no deception. In Phase 1, children between the ages of 3 and 8 years will participate in a series of events and will be interviewed to determine what they can report about those events. Three months later, parents will read the children a story that includes descriptions of events the children had experienced and events they had not experienced. The children will then be reinterviewed on two occasions with a stepwise procedure in which nonsuggestive questions are followed by leading questions and a series of questions that specifically ask the children to distinguish between events they experienced and events they only heard described. Because the interview procedures yield information about individual differences in recall, forgetting, acquiescence (i.e., saying 'yes' to a suggestion), and source monitoring (i.e., distinguishing between memories from several sources), these data will be a first step in constructing a systematic theory of the factors responsible for developmental changes in suggestibility. This project will accomplish the following goals: (a) trace developmental trends in susceptibility to false information provided by parents; (b) evaluate the types of false reports that are elicited by interview procedures with varying degrees of prompting; (c) evaluate developmental changes in recall, acquiescence, and memory source monitoring; and (d) test the adequacy of various causal models that specify the contributions of these processes to children's suggestibility. The resulting data will have important implications for how investigations of child abuse allegations are conducted, and will contribute to the development of interview procedures that more adequat ely test alternative hypotheses about the sources of children's reports. ***

Effective start/end date08/15/9407/31/96


  • National Science Foundation: $90,000.00


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