The effect of repeated experience on children's suggestibility across two question types



There is a discrepancy in the literature regarding the effect of repeated experience on children's suggestibility. Some researchers have concluded that repeated experience increases children's suggestibility for variable details whereas others have reported no detrimental effect. This study demonstrated that the type of question used to test memory (cued-recall versus yes/no questions) could account for the different reported conclusions. Children aged 5–6 years took part in an event either once or four times. Three or 21 days later, they were given a suggestive interview about the single/final occurrence of the event during which half of the event details were inaccurately described. When later asked yes/no questions, the children with repeated experience agreed with more of the suggestions than did those in the single-experience condition, especially at the longer delay. In relation to cued-recall questions, however, experience did not mediate the number of times that false suggestions from the biasing interview were reported. This latter finding was revealed irrespective of the retention interval. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.