Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children's Memory Of Long-ago Events May Be More Accurate Than Previously Thought

Date:
July 22, 2007
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
Research with 5- and 6-year olds indicates that children's memories can be accurate even when interviewed well after an event. A long delay (three versus twenty one days), had no effect on the accuracy of children's memory of certain activities. The researchers observed differences in memory depending on how much the details varied each time the activity took place. These findings have implications for interviewing child witnesses who are interviewed a while after an incident.

Research with 5- and 6-year olds indicates that children's memories can be accurate even when interviewed well after an event. A long delay (three versus twenty one days), had no effect on the accuracy of children's memory of certain activities.

The researchers observed differences in memory depending on how much the details varied each time the activity took place. These findings have implications for interviewing child witnesses who are interviewed a while after an incident.

Children's memories of events that occurred long ago may be more accurate than their recollections of events that took place recently. These findings may have implications for cases of child sexual abuse, when children are often the only witnesses. In the past, it has been assumed that because memory tends to fade with the passage of time, children's reports given a long time after an event are less accurate than reports given soon after the events took place.

These findings are from a study that was conducted by researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and Deakin University in Australia. They are reported in the July/August 2007 issue of the journal Child Development.

In the study, 5- and 6-year-olds participated in a classroom activity one or four times and were interviewed twice about the last or only occurrence of the activity.

Children who took part in the activity once were more inaccurate when the first interview took place 21 days after the activity than when it took place 3 days after the activity. But the long delay had no effect on the accuracy of reports by children who took part in the activity four times when they were asked about details that were the same in each activity.

When questioned 21 days after the last activity about details that varied each time, children with repeated experience were more inaccurate when the second interview took place the day after the first interview than they were when 21 days had lapsed between the two interviews. Thus, the researchers found that the timing of the interviews was more important than the actual delay.

The study's findings show that children's memories can be accurate even when they are interviewed a while after an event. "Reports from child witnesses should not be automatically dismissed just because the alleged events occurred a long time ago," according to Kim P. Roberts, associate professor of psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University and the study's lead author. "In cases involving alleged abuse of children, it may be useful for police to find out if anyone has been talking to children about the abuse (e.g., concerned parents, teachers, etc.) and, perhaps more importantly, when these conversations took place, so that they can assess the risk that children's memories have been contaminated by false information."

Summarized from Child Development, Vol. 78, Issue 4, The Roles of Prior Experience and the Timing of Misinformation Presentation on Young Children's Event Memories by Roberts, KP (Wilfrid Laurier University), and Powell, MB (Deakin University).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Children's Memory Of Long-ago Events May Be More Accurate Than Previously Thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070720100026.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2007, July 22). Children's Memory Of Long-ago Events May Be More Accurate Than Previously Thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070720100026.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Children's Memory Of Long-ago Events May Be More Accurate Than Previously Thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070720100026.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins