Forensic interviewing aids: Do props help children answer questions about touching?

Debra Ann Poole, Maggie Bruck, Margaret Ellen Pipe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The belief that props help children report abuse has fostered the widespread use of anatomical dolls and body diagrams in forensic interviews. Yet studies involving alleged abuse victims, children who have experienced medical examinations, and children who have participated in staged events have failed to find consistent evidence that props improve young children's ability to report key information related to bodily contact. Because props elevate the risk of erroneous touch reports, interviewers need to reconsider the belief that props are developmentally appropriate in forensic interviews, and researchers need to explore new approaches for eliciting disclosures of inappropriate touching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • anatomical dolls
  • body diagrams
  • children
  • eyewitness testimony
  • forensic interviews


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