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Is the cognitive interview efficient on very young children's ability to testify about an occurrence of a repeated event?. Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive (CNRS UMR 6024) BP 10448, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.

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Fanny Verkampt, Cindy Colomb, & Magali Ginet

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Fanny verkampt cindy colomb magali ginet

Is the cognitive interview efficient on veryyoung children's ability to testify about anoccurrence of a repeated event?

Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal

Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive (CNRS UMR 6024)

BP 10448, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France

Fanny Verkampt, Cindy Colomb, & Magali Ginet

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Children as eyewitnesses

Children as eyewitnesses

  • Children victims of physical and/or sexual violences

    • 41% under 11 years old

    • 29% under 6 years old

  • Assaults often repeated

    • 60%, perpetrator = family member

    • 46%, perpetrator = child’s father

Odas (National center for social decentralizedaction)(2007)

  • Children’s testimonies = the sole available source of information

Odas (National center for social decentralized action)(2001)

  • Questions

    • - more specific information

    • - less accurate

    •  Suggestibility

  • Free recall

  • - often accurate

    • - few detailed information

    • - generally focused on central elements

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Children as eyewitnesses1

Children as eyewitnesses

  • Age differences in eyewitness memory (e.g., 4-5 vs. 9-10 years old)

•Less capacity

•Limited duration

•Less efficient and sophisticated strategies

•Poor memory organisation (story grammar)

•Limited vocabulary

•Worse understanding of the situation

•Conversational script unsuitable for II

Encoding

Storage

Retrieval

Recall/

communication

input

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Children as eyewitnesses2

Children as eyewitnesses

  • Age differences in eyewitness memory (e.g., 4-5 vs. 9-10 years-old)

•Less capacity

•Limited duration

•Less efficient and sophisticated strategies

•Poor memory organisation (story grammar)

•Limited vocabulary

•Worse understanding of the situation

•Conversational script unsuitable for II

Encoding

Storage

Retrieval

Recall/

communication

input

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Investigative interviews framework the particularity of the cognitive interview

Investigative Interviews Framework – The particularity of the Cognitive Interview

  • Cognitive Interview with children (Geiselman & Padilla, 1988; Saywitz, Geiselman, & Bornstein, 1992)

  • Mnemonics (cognitive instructions)

  • Mental context reinstatement

  • •Physical surrounding

  • •Internal state

  • 2. Report everything

  • 3. Reverse order

  • 4. Change of perspective

  • Phased (funnel) approach:

  • Rapport-building

  • •Establishing rapport

  • •Explaining conversational rules

  • 2. Free recall

  • 3. Questioning

  • 4. Closure

Retrieval

Recall/

communication

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Investigative interviews framework the particularity of the cognitive interview1

Investigative Interviews Framework – The particularity of the Cognitive Interview

  • Benefits of the CI

QUESTIONING

21% to 27% correct information

(Holliday, 2003b; Geiselman & Padilla, 1988)

FREE RECALL

  • specific information

  • (location, person, object, action)

  • (e.g., Holliday, 2003a, 2003b)

  • suggestibility to misleading questions

  • (e.g., Memon, Holley, Wark, Bull, & Köhnkenn 1996a;Milne, Bull, Köhnken, & Memon, 1995)

  • Mnemonics (cognitive instructions)

  • Mental context reinstatement

  • •Physical surrounding

  • •Internal state

  • 2. Report everything

  • 3. Reverse order

  • 4. Change of perspective

  • Phased (funnel) approach:

  • Rapport-building

  • •Establishing rapport

  • •Explaining conversational rules

  • 2. Free recall

  • 3. Questioning

  • 4. Closure

Retrieval

Recall/

communication

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Investigative interviews framework the particularity of the cognitive interview2

Investigative Interviews Framework – The particularity of the Cognitive Interview

  • Benefits of the CI

QUESTIONING

57 % to 80% correct information

(Verkampt & Ginet, 2009, study 1 & 2)

FREE RECALL

  • specificinformation

  • (location, person, object, action)

  • (Verkampt & Ginet, 2009, study 2)

  •  suggestibility to misleading questions

  • (Verkampt & Ginet, 2009)

  • Mnemonics (cognitive instructions)

  • Mental context reinstatement

  • •Physical surrounding

  • •Internal state

  • 2. Report everything

  • 3. Cued Recall (i.e., “What happened right after that?” )

  • Phased (funnel) approach:

  • Rapport-building

  • •Establishing rapport

  • •Explaining conversational rules

  • 2. Free recall

  • 3. Questioning

  • 4. Closure

Retrieval

Recall/

communication

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Repetition of events and children s recall

Repetition of events and children’s recall

  • S.D., young girl of 8 years old

" Because my daddy hurt me … touched me where he should not. I don’t remember which day, I don’t know… in my mom’s house, in our bedroom, he came in the morning, we were in two beds, he has also hurt K. where he should not. He undressed me, put his willy in my flower. It hurt. I don’t remember ... but several times.

  • Mixture of both general script information and particular specific details

  • Fixed details = details that are similar across episodes (e.g., my daddy hurt me)

  • Variations = details that vary across episodes

    • Details may vary at each episode  Recurring variations (e.g., child’s activity before the violences)

    • Details may vary only once  Unique variation (e.g., taking pictures)

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Repetition of events and children s recall1

Repetition of events and children’s recall

  • Free Recall

    • Failure to describe a specific/target occurrence (Pearse, Powell, & Thomson, 2003; Price & Connolly, 2007)

    • Recall focused on fixed details (vs. variations) (see Roberts & Powell, 2001, for a detailed overview)

    • Many confusions (e.g., Powell, Roberts, Ceci, & Hembrooke, 1999; Price & Connolly, 2004, 2007)= details from nontarget occurrence recalled as having occured in the target one

  • Questioning (e.g., Connolly & Lindsay, 2001 ; Price & Connolly, 2004)

    •  resistance to the misleading questions about fixed details

    •  suggestibility to the misleading questions about variations

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Cognitive interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Population

    • 64 children (31 girls and 33 boys), aged 4-5 years old (M = 4.8 years old ; range = 4 years old and one month to 5 years old and 7 months)

  • Procedure

    • Encoding phase: participation to a painting session once (no repetition condition) or four times (repetition condition)

    • Interview phase: MCI or SI

      • Correct information, incorrect information, confabulations, confusions

      • Accuracy rate (correct information/total of reported information)

      • Fixes details, recurring variations, & unique variations

      • Answers to misleading (msled, not misled) and leading (led, not led) questions

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Fanny verkampt cindy colomb magali ginet

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Procedure – Encoding (Phase 1)

Repetition condition

Session

1

Session

2

Session

3

Session

4

Plaster on the nose

Plaster on the nose

Plaster on the nose

Plaster on the nose

Fixed details

Recurring variations

Head

Arm

Hip

Neck

Unique

variations

Green

apron

Green

apron

Green

apron

White

apron

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Fanny verkampt cindy colomb magali ginet

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Procedure – Encoding (Phase 1)

No Repetition condition

Session

1

Session

2

Session

3

Session

4

Plaster on the nose

Plaster on the nose

Plaster on the nose

Plaster on the nose

Fixed details

Recurring variations

Head

Arm

Hip

Neck

Unique

variations

Green

apron

Green

apron

Green

apron

White

apron

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Fanny verkampt cindy colomb magali ginet

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Procedure – Encoding (Phase 1)

No Repetition condition

Session

1

Session

2

Session

3

Session

4

Plaster on the nose

Plaster on the nose

Plaster on the nose

Plaster on the nose

Fixed details

Recurring variations

Head

Arm

Hip

Neck

Unique

variations

Green

apron

Green

apron

Green

apron

White

apron

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Cognitive interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event1

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Procedure – Interview (Phase 2)

Modified Cognitive Interview

Structured Interview

  • Rapport-building

  • 2. Free recall

  • 1st FR

  • 2nd FR

  • 3. Questioning

  • 4. Closure

Context reinstatement

Report everything

Neutral instruction

Cued Recall

Neutral instruction

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Cognitive interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event2

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Results: Free Recalls

**

Means ♯ Correct information

Z = -3.325, p < .008

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Cognitive interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event3

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Results: Free Recalls

+113%

+ 42%

Means ♯ Correct information

Z = -1.725,n.s

Z = -3.229,p < .008

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Cognitive interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event4

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Mean number (and standard deviation) of fixed details (out of 4), unique variations (out of 4) and recurrent variations (out of 4) recalled by repetition and interview

* p < .05; ** p < .01; *** p < .001

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Cognitive interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event5

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Mean number (and standard deviation) of fixed details (out of 4), unique variations (out of 4) and recurrent variations (out of 4) recalled by repetition and interview

* p < .05; ** p < .01; *** p < .001

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Cognitive interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event6

Cognitive Interview used with children testifying about an occurrence of a repeated event

  • Results: Questioning and children’s suggestibility

**

Means♯ of « no » answers (out of 6)

Z = -3.546, p < .008

Z = -2.405, p < .016

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Discussion conclusion

Discussion & Conclusion

  • A first step towards the use of the CI for some repeated events

  • Benefits of the (modified)CI for children in repetition condition:

    • Improvement of correct information

    • Without any decline in statements’ accuracy

    • Improvement of reported fixed details but no effect on variations

    • Stronger resistance to adult’s influences  « nay-saying bias » (e.g., Fritzley & Lee, 2003)

  • … for children in no repetition condition: no benefit of the (modified) CI

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


Discussion conclusion1

Discussion & Conclusion

  • Need to work with a more emotional event target

    • More naturalistic event

  • Need to test the relevance of a break because the free recall and questioning phases (cf. “nay-saying bias”):

    • CI may be demanding and resource-dependent technique particularly for children in repetition condition

    • Nay-saying bias = way for children to indicate that they want to stop the interview

3rd Annual iIIRG Conference 2010 - Stavern (Norway)


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