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The Effects of Social Support on Children's Eyewitness Testimony

By S.J Moston and T. Engelberg

Abstract

Child witnesses often give only short accounts of witnessed events. Part of the reason for this failing centres on the stress present during an interview. The most obvious means of reducing stress in children, through the provision of social support, has typically been neglected in eyewitness research, presumably because of fears over children's excessive suggestibility. Social support is also believed to inhibit children during interviews. However, these fears appear to stem more from general suspicions about children's competencies rather than empirical findings. Studies are described which show that child witnesses express a strong desire for social support, and that support may be provided in a number of different ways, from peers as well as adults. It is argued that social support is one of the most unfairly neglected issues in eyewitness research, and the minimal evidence available suggests that allowing support may have a facilitative effect on task performance, including free-recall memory

Topics: B1, H1
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Baffins Lane Chichester, W Sussex, England PO19 1UD
Year: 1992
OAI identifier: oai:kar.kent.ac.uk:22376
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