Peterson, C., Warren, K.L., & Hayes, A.H. (2013). Revisiting Narrative Elaboration Training with an Ecologically Relevant Event. Journal of Cognition and Development, 14, 154-174.
A problematic issue for forensic interviewers is that young children provide limited information in response to open-ended recall questions. Although quantity of information is greater if children are asked more focused prompts and closed question types such as yes/no or forced choice questions, the quality of their responses is potentially problematic for a number of reasons. Consequently, a key goal of forensic interviewers is to maximize how much information children provide in open-ended recall. In the current study 52 3 - 7-year-old children (mean age 5.2 years) were interviewed about a highly stressful real-life event, specifically an injury requiring hospital emergency room treatment. Half were given Narrative Elaboration (NE) training prior to the interview. Such training involves cue cards that encourage information about participants, setting, actions, and conversations/cognitions/affective states – all of which is important in forensic interviews. NE-trained children not only provided more information in open-ended recall but they also provided longer, more emotionally evaluated, more descriptive and more coherent open-ended recall than did controls. This is the first study of NE when real life, emotionally charged events are used, as well as the first examining NE-facilitated improvements in the quality of memory reports in terms of coherence and credibility variables. Forensic implications are discussed.