Children who are involved in legal cases are often interviewed about events they witnessed or that might have happened to them. Occasionally, after such interviews, children are confronted with misinformation regarding their experiences. The question that arises is whether their earlier interviews may protect them from reporting misinformation. The goal of the present experiment was to assess whether empirically based interviewing by means of the National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD) Protocol would affect the reporting of misinformation in children. Children were involved in an interactive event (i.e., science demonstration). Following this, three experimental groups were created: one group was interviewed using the NICHD Protocol, one group had to freely recall what they experienced, and one group was not asked to retrieve any memories about the event. Next, all children received misinformation concerning the event and were then subjected to a final memory test. We found that children’s recall during the NICHD interview protected children against the incorporation of misinformation in their accounts of the event. This effect was absent in the other two conditions. The current experiment suggests that evidence-based investigative interviewing can inoculate children’s memory against the corrupting impact of misinformation.
- Investigative interviewing
- NICHD protocol
- Retrieval-enhanced suggestibility