Eyewitness Memory for a Touching Experience: Accuracy Differences Between Child and Adult Witnesses

  • Leippe M
  • Romanczyk A
  • Manion A
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Children, ages 5-6 and 9-10 years, and adults spent 6 min with a man (toucher) who administered a test that required interpersonal touch. The test was briefly interrupted by a woman (intruder). Afterward, the participant-witnesses provided a memory report that included free recall, answers to objective-memory questions, and two lineup identifications. Relative to the adults and older children, the 5- to 6-year-olds gave less complete free recall and made more errors in answering objective questions about the features and actions of the toucher and the intruder. On recognition tests, both the 5- to 6- and 9- to 10-year-olds were somewhat less likely than adults to make accurate lineup decisions about the toucher and much less likely to accurately identify the briefly seen intruder. Children may remember even salient stimuli and actions more poorly than adults do, but there was no evidence that children misremembered touches that did not occur.

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  • Michael R. Leippe

  • Ann Romanczyk

  • Andrew P. Manion

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