Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Slater I 104
Suggestibility/biological theories/psychology/Ceci/Bruck: biological influences on false testimonies of children may be due to effects of arousal and stress. In the legal context, child witnesses typically provide accounts of stressful, if not traumatic, events, and the contexts in which they provide their statements are often stressful as well. (Ceci & Bruck 1993)(1).
In the early 1990s [the time of Ceci & Bruck’s review], there were relatively few published studies on children’s suggestibility about stressful or traumatic events. This area of study has expanded considerably since the time of Ceci and Bruck’s review (e.g., see Howe, Goodman, & Cicchetti, 2008(2); Chae, Ogle, & Goodman, 2009(3)).
An overall result, also summarized by Ceci and Bruck ist, that there are significant age differences in suggestibility - a conclusion known already from the 20th century research. They acknowledged that children are not incapable of providing accurate testimony, but that children’s susceptibility to inaccuracies is relatively high when compared to that of adults.


1. Ceci, S. J., & Bruck, M. (1993). The suggestibility of the child witness: A historical review and synthesis. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 403–439.
2. Howe, M., Goodman, G. S., & Cicchetti, D. (2010). Stress, trauma and memory development. New York: Cambridge University Press.
3. Chae, Y., Ogle, C., & Goodman, G. S. (2009). Remembering negative childhood experiences: An attachment theory perspective. In J. A. Quas & R. Fivush (Eds), Education and memory (pp. 3–27). New York: Oxford University Press.


Kelly McWilliams, Daniel Bederian-Gardner, Sue D. Hobbs, Sarah Bakanosky, and Gail S. Goodman, „Children’s Eyewitness Memory and Suggestibility. Revisiting Ceci and Bruck’s (1993) Review“, in: Alan M. Slater & Paul C. Quinn (eds.) 2012. Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Biological Theories
Slater I
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012


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