Reducing child witnesses' false reports of misinformation from parents

Debra Ann Poole, D. Stephen Lindsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


This study explored whether a source-monitoring training (SMT) procedure, in which children distinguished between events they recently witnessed versus events they only heard described, would help 3- to 8-year-olds to report only experienced events during a target interview. Children (N = 132) who witnessed science demonstrations and subsequently heard their parents describe nonexperienced events received SMT before or after a forensic-style interview. SMT reduced the number of false reports that 7- and 8-year-old children reported in response to direct questions but had no impact on the performance of younger children. Combined with earlier results, these data suggest a transition between 3 and 8 years of age in the strategic use of source-monitoring information to support verbal reports, such that only 7- and 8-year-olds generalize training to a difficult memory task that does not include mention of specific alternative sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-140
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2002


  • Children's memory
  • Free recall
  • Preschool-age children
  • Questioning
  • School-age children
  • Source monitoring
  • Suggestibility
  • Witnesses


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