Improving Children's Interviewing Methods? The Effects of Drawing and Practice on Children's Memories for an Event

Henry Otgaar*, Renate van Ansem, Carline Pauw, Robert Horselenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

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In the present experiment, we were interested in the effects of drawings and practice on children's memory performance. Younger (6/7-year-olds; n = 37) and older (11/12-year-olds; n = 44) children were presented with two videos that differed in complexity. Half of the children had to practice recalling an experienced event (i.e., last holiday) before remembering the two videos. The other half was not presented with such practice. Then, all children had to tell what they could still recollect about the first video. For the second video, all children were allowed to draw and tell during the recollection of the event. As expected, we found that for the complex video, making a drawing increased the completeness of children's statements, but also reduced the accuracy of their statements. Although we found that including practice reduced the completeness of statements, it did not negatively impact the accuracy of children's memory reports. Taken together, our results imply that interviewers should be cautious in using drawings as an interviewing method as it might elevate the production of incorrect information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-287
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Drawings
  • Children
  • Memory
  • False Memory
  • Interviewing

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