The effect of question repetition within interviews on young children's eyewitness recall

J Exp Child Psychol. 2006 May;94(1):57-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2005.12.002. Epub 2006 Jan 24.


This study investigated the influence of question repetition and question type (answerable, unanswerable, or opinion seeking) on children's recall. A total of 136 children (5-, 7-, and 9-year-olds) watched a live 15-min presentation. One week later, the children were asked 20 questions that were repeated an additional two times within the interview. Accuracy of children's responses to unanswerable questions declined with repetition. Children were more likely to change a response to an unanswerable question than to an answerable question. Overall, children maintained the same answers to only three-quarters of the repeated questions. The most common pattern of change was for children to change their answer the second time a question was asked and then to maintain that answer when questioned again. The high percentage of changed answers within a single interview has important implications for forensic interviewing.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • England
  • Female
  • Forensic Sciences
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Suggestion*
  • Truth Disclosure*