Children may make better witnesses than previously thought

Swedish psychologist Gunilla Fredin has found that children include fewer details in their eyewitness accounts than adults, but that what they do recall is as accurate. Participants in the study (Fredin, 2011) were children aged 8-9 and 12-13 plus a group of adults (undergraduate students). All participants watched a video of a man looking for his lost dog.

A week later participants were interviewed individually (free recall). The children were additionally given a questionnaire about the video. Finally, a further week later, all participants were shown their answers and asked to assess how confident they were about the accuracy of their statements.

In the free recall condition adults provided more responses than either of the child groups. In the group with younger children there were more participants who only provided correct recall statements in free recall than in the other groups. This suggests that the children are capable of accurate reporting when they are allowed to choose what to report. prometheus-eyewitness-testimony