Do Simple "Groundrules" Reduce Preschoolers' Suggestibility About Experienced and Nonexperienced Events?

Lisa M Ellis, Martin B Powell, Donald Thomson, Carolyn Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)
    14 Downloads (Pure)


    This study examined whether providing preschool children with simple groundrules (the importance of being complete, saying "I don't know", correcting the interviewer, and not guessing) would reduce false details in their recall of a staged event. Forty-nine preschool children participated in an event that consisted of two activities. One or two days later they were given a biasing interview that included false suggestions about one of the experienced activities as well as a nonexperienced activity. For the other activity, no suggestions were made. Eight, 15 and 22 days after the event, the children were required to recall all three activities in their own words. Immediately prior to their recall, half of the children were provided with the groundrules while the remaining children were not. The children in the control group also participated in a fifth interview in which they received the groundrule instructions. The results revealed that the provision of the groundrules had negligible impact on the accuracy of information provided irrespective of the context or order of the interview or the activity being recalled. The implications of these results are discussed and suggestions for future research are offered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)334-345
    Number of pages12
    JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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