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Int J Law Psychiatry. 2008 Aug-Sep;31(4):337-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2008.06.002. Epub 2008 Jul 21.

Children's recall of emotionally arousing, repeated events: a review and call for further investigation.

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Department of Psychology, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK, Canada S4S 0A2.


The influence, if any, of emotional arousal on memory is a controversial topic in the literature. Much of the research on memory for emotionally arousing events has focused on a few specific issues (e.g., differences in types of details recalled in emotionally arousing and neutral events; increasing ecological validity). Although gaining more recent attention, a neglected area in the literature has been memory for instances of repeated, emotionally arousing events. This issue has important implications for understanding children's ability to recall events in a forensic setting. We review existing findings on memory for emotionally arousing events in general and particularly in children, children's memory for events that occur repeatedly, and then discuss the scarce research on repeated emotionally arousing events and the need for further research in this area. We conclude that although it is clear that children are capable of accurately reporting arousing and repeated experiences, it is also apparent that circumstances both within and outside the control of investigative interviewers influence this ability.

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