Investigating suggestibility in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder




MacSween, Jennifer

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Interrogative suggestibility refers to the extent to which an individual internally accepts messages communicated during a formal questioning situation, as indicated by an external response. Research indicates low intelligence, poor memory and weak inhibitory control is associated with heightened suggestibility. Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) may also display deficits in these key areas, indicating a potential vulnerability to suggestion. The present study compared levels of suggestibility among alcohol exposed and typical children. The findings indicate that children with FASD may be at heightened risk to suggestion following negative feedback or pressure. In addition, a large amount of the suggested material was elicited and internalized as truth by all children, dependent on question format. These findings have important consequences for future interrogative interactions with children with and without FASD, to ensure information is not presented and thus elicited in a suggestive manner.



FASD, prenatal alcohol exposure, interrogative suggestibility, age, intelligence, memory, inhibition