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Mental context reinstatement or drawing: Which better enhances children's recall of witnessed events and protects against suggestive questions?



The aim of this experiment was to examine the effectiveness of two techniques in enhancing children's recall of an event that they experienced approximately a week earlier. Younger (5–6 years) and older (8–9 years) children were interviewed about a magic show event in one of three conditions. Before recalling the event, some children were instructed to mentally reinstate the context of the event (MCR group), others were asked to draw the context of the event (DCR group), and others received no reinstatement instructions (NCR). Results showed that these instructions had no impact on children's free recall or responses to open-ended prompts. However, reinstatement instructions impacted children's responses to suggestive questions: those in the DCR group gave more accurate responses than those in the NCR group. These findings provide preliminary support for the use of drawing as a potentially protective exercise that lessens the impact of biased questions with child witnesses.

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