From the archive: ‘Testimony and evidence: A scientific case study of memory for child sexual abuse’ by S. Bidrose & G. S. Goodman (2000). Applied Cognitive Psychology, 14, 197–213 with commentary


  • Nominated by Kathy Pezdek – SARMAC Editor 1995–1999


Over the past 25 years, Applied Cognitive Psychology had been an outlet for research that is both theoretically strong and has important applied implications. There are many articles during my tenure as Editor that reflect these qualities. However, one of the papers that I continue to be impressed with is this paper. In this study - much like Neisser's (1981) case study of John Dean - the authors compared the testimony of four girls regarding their alleged sexual abuse, with actual documentary evidence recorded by the leader of a ‘sex ring’. Approximately 80% of the girls' allegations were confirmed. This study is noteworthy because it provides real-world data that addresses compelling questions regarding the reliability of children's abuse memories.