Do early interviews affect children's long-term event recall?
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The present study examined the effects of the timing of an initial interview on children's recall of an event over delays of 1 and 2 years. Fifty-five children who had originally participated in a novel event when they were between 5- and 6-years old and had been interviewed about it following either short (1 week or less) or long (1 or 6 month) delays were re-interviewed 1 and 2 years after the original experience. An additional 20 children not interviewed prior to the 1-year interview were included as a no-prior-interview control group. Long delays to the initial interview led to better open-ended recall at the 1-year delay than short delays to initial interview or no prior interview. However, initial interviews that followed short delays had a greater impact on children's responses to specific questions. The results suggest that prior interview history is an important consideration when examining the effects of long delays on children's event reports, and that the effects of the timing of an initial interview depend on the nature of the information recalled.