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Suggestibility and children with mild learning disabilities: The use of the cognitive interview

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The aims of this paper were firstly to identify any differences in the level of suggestibility between 20 7–9-year-old children with mild learning disabilities and 20 children with average academic ability using the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale 2 (GSS2) and, secondly, to note the impact of the cognitive interview on the response patterns of children with mild learning disabilities. On the GSS2, average academic ability children recalled significantly more correct details than children with mild learning disabilities. There was no significant difference between the two groups of children on distortions, fabrications, total confabulations or on any of the four measures of suggestibility. In the second part of the study, 38 children with mild learning disabilities watched a filmed event and then were interviewed using either a standard or a modified version of the cognitive interview. Following this, all participants were asked specific questions, some of which incorporated misleading information. One week later each participant was re-questioned. This time critical questions were included about the truth of the presuppositions introduced in the initial interview session. It was found that the cognitive interview elicited significantly more correct and incorrect details than a standard interview with no significant difference in fabrications. Use of the cognitive interview did not significantly affect susceptibility to subsequent misleading suggestions.
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Keywords: Suggestibility; children with learning disabilities; cognitive interview

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Publication date: 2006-10-01

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