Publications by authors named "Margaret-Ellen Pipe"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Eliciting accounts of alleged child sexual abuse: how do children report touch?

J Child Sex Abus 2014 ;23(7):792-803

a National Taiwan University , Taipei , Taiwan.

Investigative interviewers frequently question alleged victims of child sexual abuse about any touching or bodily contact that might have occurred. In the present study of forensic interviews with 192 alleged sexual abuse victims, between 4 and 13 years of age, we examined the frequency with which alleged victims reported bodily contact as "touch" and the types of prompts associated with "touch" reports. Even young alleged victims of sexual abuse reported bodily contact as "touch," and they used the word "touch" more frequently in response to recall than recognition prompts. Regardless of age, children typically referred to "touch" before interviewers used this term, suggesting that even young children are able to report "touch" without being cued by interviewers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10538712.2014.950400DOI Listing
June 2015

The NICHD investigative interview protocol: an analogue study.

J Exp Psychol Appl 2013 Dec;19(4):367-82

School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington.

One hundred twenty-eight 5- to 7-year-old children were interviewed using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Investigative Interview Protocol about an event staged 4 to 6 weeks earlier. Children were prepared for talking about the investigated event using either an invitational or directive style of prompting, with or without additional practice describing experienced events. The open invitation prompts (including those using children's words to encourage further reporting) elicited more detailed responses than the more focused directive prompts without reducing accuracy. Children were most responsive when they had received preparation that included practice describing experienced events in response to invitation prompts. Overall, children were highly accurate regardless of prompt type. Errors mostly related to peripheral rather than central information and were more likely to be elicited by directive or yes/no questions than by invitations. Children who provided accounts when asked about a false event were less accurate when describing the true event. Children who received preparation that included practice recalling a recent event in response to directive and yes/no questions were least accurate when questioned about the false event first. The data provide the first direct evaluation of the accuracy of information elicited using different prompt types in the course of NICHD Protocol interviews, and underscore the importance of how children are prepared for subsequent reporting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0035143DOI Listing
December 2013

Forensic Interviewing Aids: Do Props Help Children Answer Questions About Touching?

Curr Dir Psychol Sci 2011 Feb;20(1):11-15

Department of Psychology, Central Michigan University.

The belief that props help children report abuse has fostered the widespread use of anatomical dolls and body diagrams in forensic interviews. Yet studies involving alleged abuse victims, children who have experienced medical examinations, and children who have participated in staged events have failed to find consistent evidence that props improve young children's ability to report key information related to bodily contact. Because props elevate the risk of erroneous touch reports, interviewers need to reconsider the belief that props are developmentally appropriate in forensic interviews, and researchers need to explore new approaches for eliciting disclosures of inappropriate touching.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963721410388804DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3389789PMC
February 2011

Exploratory assessments of child abuse: children's responses to interviewer's questions across multiple interview sessions.

Child Abuse Negl 2009 Aug 18;33(8):490-504. Epub 2009 Sep 18.

Department of Psychological Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, PO Box 913, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand.

Objective: The present study extends field research on interviews with young children suspected of having been abused by examining multiple assessment interviews designed to be inquisitory and exploratory, rather than formal evidential or forensic interviews.

Methods: Sixty-six interviews with 24 children between the ages of 3 and 6 years who were undergoing an assessment for suspected child abuse were examined. Each child was interviewed 2, 3, or 4 times. The interviewer's questions were categorized in terms of openness (open, closed or choice), in terms of the degree of interviewer input (free recall, direct, leading, suggestive), and for topic (whether the question was abuse-specific or nonabuse-related). Children's on-task responses were coded for amount of information (number of clauses) reported in relation to each question type and topic, and off-task responses were categorized as either ignoring the question or a diverted response.

Results: Children provided a response to most questions, independent of question type or topic and typically responded with one or two simple clauses. Some children disclosed abuse in response to open-ended questions; generally, however, failure to respond to a question was more likely for abuse-specific than for nonabuse-related questions.

Conclusion: The findings are discussed in terms of the growing literature on interviewing children about suspected abuse, particularly in interviews conducted over multiple sessions.

Practice Implications: Assessment of suspected child abuse may involve more than a single investigative interview. Research examining children's responses to questioning over multiple interviews (or single interviews conducted over multiple sessions) is necessary for the development of best practise guidelines for the assessment of abuse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2008.12.012DOI Listing
August 2009

The susceptibility of young preschoolers to source similarity effects: confusing story or video events with reality.

J Exp Child Psychol 2009 Apr 13;102(4):392-407. Epub 2009 Feb 13.

Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ 08102, USA.

This study examined children's tendency to confuse events that varied in source similarity, which was manipulated using different media of event presentation. In Experiment 1, children in two age groups (3- and 4-year-olds and 5- and 6-year-olds) experienced a live presentation of an event, and another event was either heard from a story (low similarity group) or seen on a video (high similarity group). Immediately afterward, the children were asked to monitor the source of the events. The children in the low similarity group produced higher source discrimination scores than did the children in the high similarity group. Overall, the older children were better at source monitoring than were the younger children. In Experiment 2, the procedure was replicated except that the children's source monitoring was tested after a 4-day delay. When attributing the source of the story or video events, both 3- and 4-year-olds and 5- and 6-year-olds in the low similarity group produced more accurate story or video attributions than did their age mates in the high similarity group. However, when attributing the source of the live events, only the 3- and 4-year-olds evidenced this effect of source similarity. The 5- and 6-year-olds in both the low and high similarity groups performed at ceiling levels for live discriminations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2008.12.005DOI Listing
April 2009

The child in time: the influence of parent-child discussion about a future experience on how it is remembered.

Memory 2008 ;16(5):485-99

University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

We investigated the influence of preparation provided by parents on preschoolers' recall. One day before children participated in a staged novel event, parents discussed the event with their child either with (verbal+photos) or without (verbal) photographs. Parents and children in a control condition read an unrelated story. Then 8-10 days later the children were interviewed about the event. Children in the verbal+photos condition recalled significantly more than those in the control condition. Parental preparation style (e.g., evaluations, hypothetical language) was associated with the child's contributions to the preparatory discussion, but no aspect of parent or child style or content was associated with children's verbal recall. Similarly, there were no significant associations between children's performance on a task of episodic future thinking, and their preparatory discussion or recall, although episodic future thinking was strongly associated with language ability. The potential underlying mechanisms and theoretical implications are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658210802036112DOI Listing
November 2008

Does providing props during preparation help children to remember a novel event?

J Exp Child Psychol 2007 Jun 27;97(2):99-116. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia.

We investigated the conditions under which preparatory information presented 1 day before a novel event influenced 6-year-olds' recall 1 week later. Children were assigned to one of six experimental conditions. Three conditions involved preparatory information that described the event accurately but differed according to the presence and type of props (verbal, real props, and toy props). In two conditions, which also differed according to whether verbal information was supplemented with real props, half of the preparatory information described the event accurately, whereas the other half was thematically similar to, but inconsistent with, the event (misleading verbal and misleading props). Compared with the attentional control condition, all forms of preparation that described the event accurately increased correct recall. Preparation that included props improved photograph recognition. When half of the accurate information was replaced by misleading information, the positive benefit on recall was reduced, and when misleading props accompanied the misleading information, errors increased. The potential underlying mechanisms and implications for pediatric settings are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2007.01.001DOI Listing
June 2007

Supportive or suggestive: Do human figure drawings help 5- to 7-year-old children to report touch?

J Consult Clin Psychol 2007 Feb;75(1):33-42

Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom.

The authors examined the accuracy of information elicited from seventy-nine 5- to 7-year-old children about a staged event that included physical contact-touching. Four to six weeks later, children's recall for the event was assessed using an interview protocol analogous to those used in forensic investigations with children. Following the verbal interview, children were asked about touch when provided with human figure drawings (drawings only), following practice using the human figure drawings (drawings with instruction), or without drawings (verbal questions only). In this touch-inquiry phase of the interview, most children provided new information. Children in the drawings conditions reported more incorrect information than those in the verbal questions condition. Forensically relevant errors were infrequent and were rarely elaborated on. Although asking children to talk about innocuous touch may lead them to report unreliable information, especially when human figure drawings are used as aids, errors are reduced when open-ended prompts are used to elicit further information about reported touches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.75.1.33DOI Listing
February 2007

Developmental differences in the function and use of anatomical dolls during interviews with alleged sexual abuse victims.

J Consult Clin Psychol 2005 Dec;73(6):1125-34

Department of Psychology, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, USA.

The impact of anatomical dolls on reports provided by 3- to 12-year-old alleged sexual abuse victims (N = 178) was examined. Children produced as many details in response to open-ended invitations with and without the dolls. In response to directive questions, the 3- to 6-year-olds were more likely to re-enact behaviorally than to report verbally, whereas the 7- to 12-year-olds produced more verbal details than enactments when using the dolls. With the dolls, the younger children were more likely than the older children to play suggestively and to contradict details provided without the dolls, whereas the older children were more likely to provide details that were consistent. Children in both age groups produced proportionally more fantastic details with the dolls than without the dolls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.73.6.1125DOI Listing
December 2005

Source recall enhances children's discrimination of seen and heard events.

J Exp Psychol Appl 2005 Mar;11(1):33-44

Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ, USA.

The effects of rehearsing actions by source (slideshow vs. story) and of test modality (picture vs. verbal) on source monitoring were examined. Seven- to 8-year-old children (N = 30) saw a slideshow event and heard a story about a similar event. One to 2 days later, they recalled the events by source (source recall), recalled the events without reference to source (no-source-cue recall), or engaged in no recall. Seven to 8 days later, all children received verbal and picture source-monitoring tests. Children in the source recall group were less likely than children in the other groups to claim they saw actions merely heard in the story. No-source-cue recall impaired source identification of story actions. The picture test enhanced recognition, but not source monitoring, of slide actions. Increasing the distinctiveness of the target events (Experiment 2) allowed the picture test to facilitate slideshow action discrimination by children in the no-recall group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1076-898X.11.1.33DOI Listing
March 2005

Reminiscence and hypermnesia in children's eyewitness memory.

J Exp Child Psychol 2005 Mar 15;90(3):235-54. Epub 2004 Dec 15.

Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Three experiments examined reminiscence and hypermnesia in 5- and 6-year-olds' memory for an event across repeated interviews that occurred either immediately afterward (Experiment 1) or after a 6-month delay (Experiments 2 and 3). Reminiscence (recall of new information) was reliably obtained in all of the experiments, although the numbers of new items recalled were fewer after a delay than when the interviews occurred immediately afterward. Hypermnesia (increasing total recall over repeated recall attempts) was obtained only in Experiment 1 when interviews occurred immediately and 24 h after the event.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2004.11.002DOI Listing
March 2005

Detecting deception in children: event familiarity affects criterion-based content analysis ratings.

J Appl Psychol 2004 Feb;89(1):119-26

Department of Psychology, School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA 91711-3955, USA.

Statement Validity Assessment (SVA) is a comprehensive credibility assessment system, with the Criterion-Based Content Analysis (CBCA) as a core component. Worldwide, the CBCA is reported to be the most widely used veracity assessment instrument. We tested and confirmed the hypothesis that CBCA scores are affected by event familiarity; descriptions of familiar events are more likely to be judged true than are descriptions of unfamiliar events. CBCA scores were applied to transcripts of 114 children who recalled a routine medical procedure (control) or a traumatic medical procedure that they had experienced one time (relatively unfamiliar) or multiple times (relatively familiar). CBCA scores were higher for children in the relatively familiar than the relatively unfamiliar condition, and CBCA scores were significantly correlated with age. Results raise serious questions regarding the forensic suitability of the CBCA for assessing the veracity of children's accounts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.89.1.119DOI Listing
February 2004

Individual differences in children's event memory reports and the narrative elaboration technique.

J Appl Psychol 2003 Apr;88(2):195-206

Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Children between 7 and 8 years old took part in a staged event at school and 1 week later were assessed using a short form of the Wechsler Intelligence scale for children (third edition) and measures of metamemory, narrative ability, and socioeconomic status. Two weeks following the event, children either received narrative elaboration training (NET; K.J. Saywitz & L. Snyder, 1996) and were prompted with the four NET cue cards at interview; received verbal prompts corresponding to the cue card categories, but without prior training; or were presented with the cards at interview without prior training. Children given verbal labels as prompts recalled as much information as children who received NET training and cue cards. Measures of intelligence were predictive of amount recalled for cards-only children but not for the other 2 groups, indicating that differences in recall between low- and high-IQ groups were attenuated when recall was supported by NET training or verbal prompting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.88.2.195DOI Listing
April 2003

Knowing in advance: the impact of prior event information on memory and event knowledge.

J Exp Child Psychol 2003 Mar;84(3):244-63

University of Otago, New Zealand.

We examined the influence of newly acquired information on children's memory and general representation of a personally experienced event. Thirty-five children between the ages of 5 and 7 years participated in the novel event (Visiting the Pirate). The day before participating, children were: (1) provided with new information specific to the up-coming event; (2) engaged in a discussion generally related to the event topic based on existing knowledge; or (3) discussed an unrelated topic. Advance information specific to the event led to better recall and, in particular, to better integration of the experience into a general event representation both soon after the event and at a follow-up interview 4 months later, whereas general discussion of the topic without the event specific information neither enhanced memory reports nor facilitated the integration of event information. Providing information in advance can have significant effects on memory and knowledge acquisition although many variables, including those relating to the specific content of the information, will affect this relation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0022-0965(03)00021-3DOI Listing
March 2003

Does the nature of the experience influence suggestibility? A study of children's event memory.

J Exp Child Psychol 2002 Apr;81(4):502-30

University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Two experiments examined the effects of event modality on children's memory and suggestibility. In Experiment 1, 3- and 5-year-old children directly participated in, observed, or listened to a narrative about an event. In an interview immediately after the event, free recall was followed by misleading or leading questions and, in turn, test recall questions. One week later children were reinterviewed. In Experiment 2, 4-year-old children either participated in or listened to a story about an event, either a single time or to a criterion level of learning. Misleading questions were presented either immediately or 1 week after learning, followed by test recall questions. Five-year-old children were more accurate than 3-year-olds and those participating were more accurate than those either observing or listening to a narrative. However, method of assessment, level of event learning, delay to testing, and variables relating to the misled items also influenced the magnitude of misinformation effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jecp.2002.2662DOI Listing
April 2002