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



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 7 months 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 7 months, 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 6 months 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. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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