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Abstract

Twenty-four forensic interviews of seven alleged victims of child sexual abuse were examined to elucidate the circumstances in which the children contradicted forensically relevant details they had provided earlier. Suggestive questions by the interviewers elicited a disproportionate number of contradictions, whereas open-ended invitations never elicited contradictions. Because contradictions necessarily imply that details were stated inaccurately at least once, these close analyses of forensic interviews demonstrate that, as in analogue contexts, open-ended prompts yield more accurate information than do focused questions, particularly option-posing and suggestive prompts. Published in 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.