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Similarities and differences in eyewitness testimonies of children who directly versus vicariously experience stress

, : Similarities and differences in eyewitness testimonies of children who directly versus vicariously experience stress. Journal of Genetic Psychology 162(3): 314-333

This study tested questions of ecological validity by comparing the eyewitness testimonies of children directly experiencing a painful inoculation experience those of children in a yoked-control group who vicariously experienced the inoculation onwith videotape. The study involved 86 5-year-olds, divided between 2 groups: the experiential and yoked control. The experiential group was followed through a health department with a video camera as they received diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT), and oral polio inoculations. They were tested immediately, 20 min later, and 1 month later. Each child in the yoked-control group merely watched the videotape of his or her counterpart in the experiential group, made similar ratings of pain, and was given the same tests and suggestions. Stress and personal experience affected items congruent with the stressor to produce flashbulb-like memories, with slower rates of forgetting for some items, such as nurse identifications, and greater suggestibility for other items, such as estimates of needle size. These and the apparently conflicting results in the literature were said to make sense when personally experienced stress was viewed from S.-A. Christianson's (1992) interactive perspective rather than as a single ubiquitous variable.


PMID: 11678366

DOI: 10.1080/00221320109597486

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