“I Hardly Cried When I Got My Shot!” Influencing Children's Reports about a Visit to Their Pediatrician

Maggie Bruck, Stephen J. Ceci, Emmett Francoeur, Ronald Barr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined, in 2 phases, the influence of postevent suggestions on children's reports of their visits to a pediatrician. Phase 1 examined the effect of giving one of 3 types of feedback to 5‐year‐old children immediately following their Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus (DPT) inoculation. Children were given pain‐affirming feedback (the shot hurt), pain‐denying feedback (the shot did not hurt), or neutral feedback (the shot is over). 1 week later, they did not differ in their reports concerning how much the shot hurt or how much they cried. In Phase 2, the same children were visited approximately 1 year after their inoculation. During 3 separate visits, they were either given additional pain‐denying or neutral feedback. They were also given misleading or nonmisleading information about the actions of the pediatrician and the assistant. Children given pain‐denying feedback reported that they cried less and that the shot hurt less than did children given neutral feedback. Those who were given misleading information about the actions of the assistant and the pediatrician made more false allegations about their actions than did children who were not given this information. These results challenge the view that suggestibility effects are confined to peripheral, nonaction events; in this study children's reports about salient actions involving their own bodies in stressful conditions were influenced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-208
Number of pages16
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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