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Children's Eyewitness Memory: A Modern History and Contemporary Commentary

Authors

  • Gail S. Goodman

    Corresponding author
    1. University of California, Davis
      *Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Gail S. Goodman, Department of Psychology, University of California, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 [e-mail: ggoodman@ucdavis.edu].
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  • I thank Bette L. Bottoms, Jodi A. Quas, Kathy Pezdek, Thomas D. Lyon, Phillip R. Shaver, Rick Hoyle, and several anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft of this article.

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Gail S. Goodman, Department of Psychology, University of California, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 [e-mail: ggoodman@ucdavis.edu].

Abstract

This article provides a modern historical overview of child eyewitness research, as well as an evaluative commentary on the field, with special emphasis on children's eyewitness memory and suggestibility in child sexual abuse cases. Four historical periods are reviewed: the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s (to date). Examples of legal cases that inform scientific research are described, discussion of relevant laws is presented, and a review of selected studies is offered. It is concluded that although we have learned a great deal about children's eyewitness memory and suggestibility over the last few decades, simple answers are evasive and much more research is needed.

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