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Variations of the cognitive interview: Which one is the most effective in enhancing children's testimonies?



Two experiments were conducted to examine the effectiveness of the combination of instructions used in the Cognitive Interview (CI) and the effectiveness of a new mnemonic, the ‘cued recall’ (CR), on children's recall and suggestibility levels. In the first experiment, 229 children, ages 4–5 and 8–9, participated in a painting session. They were then interviewed with one of six interview protocols: A full CI, four of its variations, or a Structured Interview (SI). The children were then asked some misleading questions. All of the variations of the CI elicited more correct details than the SI, without a concomitant in errors or confabulations. Moreover, the CI with the change order instruction (CO) omitted reduced the children's suggestibility level. In the second experiment, this variation of the CI was tested on 57 children. Results confirmed the effectiveness of this protocol. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.