The effect of event repetition on the production of story grammar in children's event narratives

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Feltis, Brooke B
Powell, Martine B
Roberts, Kim P
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2011
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Abstract

Objective: This study examined the effect of event repetition on the amount and nature of story-grammar produced by children when recalling the event. Method: Children aged 4 years (N=50) and 7 years (N=56) participated in either 1 or 6 occurrences of a highly similar event where details varied across the occurrences. Half the children in each age and event group recalled the last/single occurrence 5-6. days later and the other half recalled the last/single occurrence after 5-6 weeks (the final and single occurrence was the same). Children's free recall responses were classified according to the number and proportion of story-grammar elements (Stein & Glenn, 1979-setting, initiating event, internal response, plan, attempt, direct consequence, and resolution) as well as the prevalence of causal links between the individual story-grammar elements. Results: More story-grammar detail and more links between individual story-grammar elements were reported about the final compared to single occurrence. The amount of story-grammar increased with age and decreased over time. Further, an interaction was revealed such that the effect of retention interval on the production of story-grammar was negligible for older children who experienced the repeated event. Conclusions: Event repetition has a beneficial effect on the production of children's story-grammar content in situations where event details varied from occasion to occasion. This study highlights the importance of eliciting free recall when conducting evidential interviews with child witnesses about repeated events.

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Child Abuse & Neglect

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35

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3

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© 2011 Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.

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Criminology

Social work

Social Sciences

Family Studies

Psychology, Social

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Feltis, BB; Powell, MB; Roberts, KP, The effect of event repetition on the production of story grammar in children's event narratives, Child Abuse & Neglect, 2011, 35 (3), pp. 180-187

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