Two Years Later: Effects of Question Repetition and Retention Interval on the Eyewitness Testimony of Children and Adults

Debra A. Poole, Lawrence T. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined witnesses' memories for an event experienced 2 years earlier. Ss in 4 age groups (6-, 8-, and 10-year-olds and adults; N = 79) answered repeated questions about an ambiguous incident that occurred as part of an earlier study (D. A. Poole & L. T. White, 1991). Surprisingly, the effects of question repetition were similar to the patterns observed 2 years ago. There were important differences in the testimonies of children and adults, however, that were not observed in the initial study: Children were less consistent than adults across sessions on yes-no questions, less accurate in response to open-ended questions, and more likely to fabricate answers to a question about a man's occupation. Some children also confused the actions of 2 research assistants. These results indicate the need for additional research on qualitative and quantitative changes in children's testimonies over long delays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-853
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1993

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