Annu Rev Psychol 1999 ;50:419-39
Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.
In this review, we describe a shift that has taken place in the area of developmental suggestibility. Formerly, studies in this area indicated that there were pronounced age-related differences in suggestibility, with preschool children being particularly susceptible to misleading suggestions. The studies on which this conclusion was based were criticized on several grounds (e.g. unrealistic scenarios, truncated age range). Newer studies that have addressed these criticisms, however, have largely confirmed the earlier conclusions. These studies indicate that preschool children are disproportionately vulnerable to a variety of suggestive influences. There do not appear to any strict boundary conditions to this conclusion, and preschool children will sometimes succumb to suggestions about bodily touching, emotional events, and participatory events. The evidence for this assertion is presented in this review.