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A state of high anxiety: how non-supportive interviewers can increase the suggestibility of child witnesses

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The present study examined the effects of state and trait anxiety on 8–11 years old children's susceptibility to misleading post-event information. Participants' state and trait anxiety were measured, after which they watched an extract from a children's movie. They were then individually interviewed using either a supportive or a non-supportive style. During the interviews, the children were asked 14 questions about the movie, seven of which were control and seven contained misleading information. After the interview, their state anxiety was measured again. Results showed that participants interviewed in a non-supportive style were more likely to provide incorrect answers to misleading questions. Furthermore, participants who scored highly on both trait and post-interview state anxiety measures more often responded incorrectly to misleading questions. Also, pre-to post-interview changes in state anxiety were correlated with more incorrect responses to misleading questions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-974
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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