Reconceptualizing children's suggestibility: bidirectional and temporal properties

Child Dev. 2005 Jan-Feb;76(1):40-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00828.x.


Forty-one children (3 to 7 years) were exposed to a staged event and later interviewed by 1 of 41 professional interviewers. All interviews were coded with a detailed, mutually exclusive, and exhaustive coding scheme capturing adult behaviors (leading questions vs. neutral) and child behaviors (acquiescence vs. denial) in a temporally organized manner. Overall, interviewers' use of leading questions did not result in increased acquiescence as previously found. However, one specific type of leading question (i.e., inaccurate misleading) was followed by acquiescence. Lagged sequential analyses showed that it was possible to predict directly from child-to-child behavior, effectively skipping the intervening adult behavior. This result raises questions about the current conceptualization that suggestibility is driven by adult behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Concept Formation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Suggestion*
  • Time Perception*