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Children's Memory and the Law

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PSYC 268
Deborah Connolly

Lecture 11 Children and the Law November 28 , 2011 1 Accuracy of Children’s Memory Haden et al. (2001)  3½ year olds played a game with their mom where they pretended they were opening an ice cream store  Amount/type of convo between mom/child were observed  Measuredmemory 1 day or 3 weeks after  OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS  child recalled impressiveamountsof detail after 3 weeks o Amount they recalled varied as a function of the type of interaction that occurred around that detail Principe et al. (2000)  Measuredmemory of 5 year olds immediately after a medical check-up + 12 weeks later  6 weeks after the check-up they engaged in 1 of 4 conditions: o Follow-upinterview o Returned to doctor’s office (no interview and no reminder) o Watched a video of another child’s check-up o No intervening event (control)  Children recalled a high amount of correct infoabout their visit, which only declined slightly after 12 wks Children’s Suggestibility A suggestibility effecoccurs when kids/adults report that something they were onlytold about really had occurred. Ceci, Ross, and Toglia (1987) – Exp. 1 that depicted the story they heard (choices: story detail or suggested detail)  Suggestibility effect gets smaller with age  Children 3-4yrs, 5-6yrs, 7-9yrs, 10-12yrs heard a story with pictures about “Lauren who had a stomach ache from eating eggs too fast”  1 day later (biasing interview): o ½ of the kids were asked if they remembered the story about “Lauren who had a headache from eating her cereal too fast” o ½ were asked if they remembered the story about “Lauren who was sick”  2 days after the biasing interview, the kids did a forced choice test where they chose the picture Lecture 11 Children and the Law November 28 , 2011 2 Ceci, Ross & Toglia (1987) – Exp. 2  3-4 year old kids heard an illustrated story about Lauren who had a stomach ache from eating eggs toofast  1 day later : ½ were asked if they remembered the story about Lauren who had a headache from eating her cereal too fast, ½ were askedif they remembered the story about Lauren who was sick  The biaser was either 7 years old or an adult  2 days after biasing: kids asked to select the correct picture: one picture depicted the story they heard and one picture depicting the biasing information  Size of the suggestibility effect was larger in the adult biaser condition o Suggests that the suggestibility effect is, in part, due todemand characteristics Leichtman & Ceci (1995): Suggestibility, Stereotypes, Both, and Neither  Famous Sam Stone study  Kids wildly influenced by stereotypes  Tag questions = “You didn’t really see it, did you?” = hard for kids to handle Suggestibility for Ambiguous Stimuli  Kids more influenced by the incriminating statements  Younger kids rely more on adults to interpret ambiguous stimuli.  Very easy to change a child’s interpretation of what happened during a previous ambiguous event, leading toreinterpretation of facts of even creation of new facts. o Demand characteristicsmay play a small role. Explanations for the Suggestibility Effect Memory-Based Explanations a. Memory Impairment – memory is alteredin some way as a result of the presentation of post-event suggestions. The memory of the original event could have been overwritten or became inaccessible due to post-event suggestions. b. SourceMisattributions – one recalls the event and the post-event details but can’t remember what information was learned in which context Non Memory Based Explanations – may influence responding to questions about the event. a. Guessing Bias – some misled subjects won’t remember target details for reasons unrelated to do with the biasing interview (never encoded or forgot).Among those subjects, some will recall themisled info and will be biased to respond with it. b. Demand Characteristics – some misled subjects will remember target detail and know that themisled detail is wrong but decide to respond with it because theythink it’s what the experimenter wants them to say; you know it’s wrong but think the interviewer wants you to say it so you do c. Response Bias – they think that although they saw the target detail, the experimenter told them the misled detail during the biasing interview so that “must be the right answer.” Different from demand characteristics in that they aren’t trying to please the experime
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