Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Cheryl B McNeil
Eyewitness testimony is often key evidence in court cases, but it is often difficult to obtain accurate eyewitness memories (Loftus, Miller, & Burns, 1978). This is especially true when this testimony must be acquired from preschool children because young children have been found to be susceptible to suggestive interviewing techniques (Krackow & Lynn, 2003). Several aspects of children's cognitive capabilities have been found to influence their suggestibility, including their source monitoring abilities, or their abilities to trace the source of memories (Ceci & Bruck, 1993). Therefore, source monitoring ability provides a possible point of intervention to decrease children's suggestibility. Source monitoring training protocols have been developed, tested, and shown to decrease children's suggestibility (Giles, Gopnik, & Heyman, 2002). Another intervention that has been developed and proven to improve children's eyewitness memory is the revised cognitive interview (Fisher & Geiselman, 1992). This method utilizes a number of memory enhancement techniques in a structured interview protocol to obtain children's eyewitness memory. Although both source monitoring training and the revised cognitive interview have been shown to improve recall, they have never been compared directly. The current study utilized both memory enhancement techniques and compare them to a no-intervention control condition to assess the influence of these techniques on children's recall and suggestibility. Thirty-seven 4- and 5-year-old children were randomized to the three conditions. There was no effect of source monitoring training or the cognitive interview on correct answers to leading questions or free recall memory reports. The results indicate that source monitoring training was not effective in decreasing suggestibility and the cognitive interview was not effective in obtaining greater free recall in the current study. Implications for forensic interviewing are discussed.
Travers, Ria M., "The Influence of Memory Enhancement Techniques on Children's Testimony" (2015). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6828.