Mental reinstatement of context: A technique for interviewing child witnesses

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Abstract

The effectiveness of mental reinstatement of context as a technique for interviewing child witnesses was examined. Adult, 6-year-olds and 11 -year-olds viewed a film and were interviewed in one of three conditions; (1) free recall, (2) mental reinstatement of the context in which the film was viewed or (3) a series of specific questions about the film. In terms of correct information recalled, mental reinstatement of context and specific questions produced more correct responses than did free recall. In terms of errors of commission, specific questions produced more responses than either free recall or mental reinstatement of context. Age-related increases in both correct and incorrect responses were found supporting some previous findings. The implications of these results in terms of children's eyewitness memory were discussed, and future research directions were indicated.

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