The Effects of Mental Context Reinstatement on Children's Accounts of Sexual Abuse

Irit Hershkowitz, Yael Orbach, Michael E. Lamb, Kathleen J. Sternberg, Dvora Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Forensic interviewers guided 46.4- to 13-year-old alleged victims of sexual abuse to recall the context in which the reported incidents had taken place. A comparable group of 50 alleged victims were interviewed using an interview protocol that was identical except that the mental context reinstatement (MCR) techniques were not included. MCR did not increase the total number of event-related details reported, but it did lead children to reported proportionally more details (55% versus 46%) in response to invitations rather than focused prompts. Such information is more likely to be accurate. MCR had an especially powerful effect on the youngest children (4- to 6-year-olds) studied. The results suggest that non-suggestive contextual cues may indeed be useful in forensic interviews. Published in 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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