The nature of children's true and false narratives

Maggie Bruck, Stephen J. Ceci, Helene Hembrooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


We review the research on the credibility and reliability of young children's reports. We then provide details of a study that was designed to address some unresolved issues in the field. In this study, various suggestive techniques were used in repeated interviews with preschool children to elicit narratives about true and fictional events. Analyses of children's narratives revealed that fictional narratives contained more spontaneous details, more elaborations, and more aggressive details than true narratives. Across retellings, false narratives were less consistent but contained more reminiscences than true events. These results are discussed in terms of the structural features of true and false narratives, the effects of repeated interviews on children's accuracy, and the credibility of children's reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-554
Number of pages35
JournalDevelopmental Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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