Eliciting children’s recall of events: how do computers compare with humans?

M. Powell, Clare Wilson, D. Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the usefulness of an interactive computer program in eliciting children's reports about an event. Fifty-four 5–6- and fifty-nine 7–8-year old children participated in an event with their regular class teacher which involved several activities and a mildly negative secret. Four days and again 14 days later, the children were interviewed individually by computer (alone) or by a human interviewer. The computer program incorporated animation and audio whereby an animated figure asked the questions and the children were required to provide a verbal response. The accuracy and detail of the children’s reports was similar across the interview conditions. The children were more willing to review their answers with the computer than the adult interviewer. However, responses to the computer were less consistent across the interviews, and the children were less willing to disclose the secret in the second interview to the computer compared with the human interviewer. Overall, the computer revealed little benefit in eliciting children’s recall of the event over the standard face-to-face interview.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-313
Number of pages17
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2002


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