Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Slater I 106
Arousal/stress/suggestibility/psychological theories: Older literature, such as that reviewed by Ceci and Bruck (1993)(1), often used the term “arousal” or “stress” in what is now considered a fairly imprecise way. Currently, researchers would likely differentiate between a valence dimension (from positive to negative) and an arousal dimension (from boring to exciting; Bradley & Lang, 1994)(2). Experiences that produce affect at the intersection of negative valence and high arousal would be of most relevance to child witness research. In contrast to the dimensional approach, other theorists now contend that discrete emotions, such as “distress,” “fear,” or “anger,” should be studied in relation to child witness memory and suggestibility (Davis, Quas, & Levine, 2008)(3). >Suggestibility/psychological theories, >Suggestibility/social psychology, >Suggestibility/Ceci/Bruck.
The older literature on the relation between arousal and suggestibility ist contradictory: one body of research demonstrated that arousal has beneficial effects on children’s memory and resistance to suggestion; another body of research provided evidence that arousal has debilitating consequences for memory and suggestibility; and finally, some studies failed to reveal positive or negative effects.



1. Ceci, S. J., & Bruck, M. (1993). The suggestibility of the child witness: A historical review and synthesis. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 403–439.
2. Bradley, M. M., & Lang, P. J. (1994). Measuring emotion: The self-assessment manikin and the semantic differential. Journal of Behavioral Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 25, 49–59.
3. Davis, E. L., Quas, J. A., & Levine, L. (2008). Children’s memory for stressful events: Exploring the role of discrete emotions. In M. L. Howe, G. S. Goodman, & D. Cicchetti (Eds), Stress, trauma, and children’s memory development (pp. 236–264). 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.
Psychological Theories
Slater I
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-04-18
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