Paper in Applied Cognitive
- Pauline Howie, Melanie Sheehan, Tayebeh Mojarrad and Monika
Wrzesinska (2004). 'Undesirable' and 'desirable' shifts in children's
responses to repeated questions: Age differences in the effect
of providing a rationale for repetition. Applied Cognitive
Psychology, 18: 1161 - 80.
This study examined factors influencing children's tendency to
shift responses when questions are repeated within an interview.
Forty nine 4-5-year-olds and 40 7-8-year-olds were questioned about
a video they had seen, with questions repeated by the same or a
different interviewer. Half the children were given a rationale
for question repetition, and half were not. Overall, the older children
shifted less than the younger children, and, unlike the younger
children, more to misleading than unbiased questions. The rationale
did not affect overall shifting, but reduced the probability of
'undesirable' shifts (towards inaccuracy) in the younger children,
and increased 'desirable' shifts (towards accuracy) at both ages.
In the younger children, the rationale reduced total number of shifts,
but only with the same interviewer, while in the older children
the reverse applied. The results suggest developmental progression
in the relative contributions of memorial and social/motivational
factors to shifting. Implications for investigative interviewing
with children are discussed.