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 Repeated Interviews:
Memory Distortion and Learned Behavior


What is the affect of being interviewed time and time again about having been sexually abused? The additional information which seeps out during repeated interviews can distort the memory, so that the child's recollection of the event is no longer a valid one.  Once having muddied those waters, the child's recollection can never return to normal.

Once the memory is distorted, the greatest expert in the country can't retrieve it.  One has to expect that you're never going to find out the details surrounding the suspected abuse.

A second thing that begins to happen as the child is being questioned by adults is the child is learning to say the things that those adults are looking for . . . things which may have nothing to do with the truth.
See the amicus brief  by  the Committee of Concerned Social Scientists and filed in State of New Jersey v. Michaels.    See also the file on memory.