The Credibility of Children's Testimony: Can Children Control the Accuracy of Their Memory Reports?

Asher Koriat, Morris Goldsmith, Wolfgang Schneider, Michal Nakash-Dura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In previous work with adults (A. Koriat & M. Goldsmith, 1994, 1996c), it was shown that people can enhance the accuracy of their testimony substantially when they (a) are effective in monitoring the correctness of their answers, (b) are free to control their reporting accordingly (i.e., to decide which pieces of information to volunteer and which to withhold), and (c) are given incentives for accurate reporting. A theoretical model was developed, which specifies the critical role of metacognitive monitoring and control processes in mediating free-report memory accuracy. The present study applies that model to examine the strategic regulation of memory accuracy by children. Three experiments indicate that both younger (ages 7 to 9) and older (ages 10 to 12) children can enhance the accuracy of their testimony by screening out wrong answers under free-report conditions but suggest a developmental trend in the level of memory accuracy that is thereby achieved. The implications of the results for the dependability of children's testimony in legal settings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-437
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is part of a project that was supported by a grant from the German-Israel Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (Grant No. I-412-019-4/95) and by the Max Wertheimer Minerva Center at the University of Haifa. We thank Shiri Pearlman-Avnion and Nira Shaked (Schwartz) for their help in setting up and running the experiments, and Hana Struminger for programming assistance.


  • Children
  • Control processes
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Memory
  • Metamemory
  • Monitoring
  • Recall
  • Recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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