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How Do Body Diagrams Affect the Accuracy and Consistency of Children's Reports of Bodily Touch Across Repeated Interviews?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

  • Deirdre Brown
  • Margaret-Ellen Pipe
  • Charlie Lewis
  • Michael E. Lamb
  • Yael Orbach
Journal publication date03/2012
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Journal number2
Volume26
Number of pages8
Pages174-181
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We examined the amount, accuracy, and consistency of information reported by 58 5- to 7-year-old children about a staged event that included physical contact/touching. Both 1 and 7months following the event, children were asked both open and yes/no questions about touch [i] when provided with human body diagrams (HBDs), [ii] following instruction and practice using the HBDs, or [iii] without HBDs. Children interviewed with HBDs reported more information at 7months, but a high proportion of inaccurate touches. Children seldom repeated touch-related information across the two interviews and did not incorporate errors made in the 1-month interview into their open-ended accounts 6months later. Asking children to talk about innocuous touch may lead them to report unreliable information, especially when HBDs are used as aids and repeated interviews are conducted across delays that resemble those typical of forensic contexts.