PSYC 3020 Lecture Notes - Free Recall, Structured Interview, Hindsight Bias

108 views27 pages
Unit 6: The Child as an Eyewitness and Victim
Introduction
-it used to be assumed that children were highly susceptible to suggestion and could be
easily led in answering questions
-it was assumed that they have difficulty in distinguishing between reality and fantasy or
between dreams and memories
-Jean Piaget claimed that the courts should treat the testimony of children under the
age of 11 or 12 as unreliable
-contemporary research does not fully support these beliefs
-questions of accuracy, suggestibility and capacity to distinguish fact and fantasy are
not simply functions of age, they vary with the familiarity of the event being recalled,
the cognitive skills of the child and the emotions surrounding the event
Read Textbook Chapter 6 pg. 146-174
Chapter 6: Child Victims and Witnesses
History
-child victims and witnesses can be traced back to witch trials in 1692
-some children recanted their testimonies
-the prevailing legal attitude toward child witnesses for the following 300 years was that
of skepticism
-research in the early 20th century began in europe concluding that children were high-
ly suggestible and had difficult separating fact from fiction
-research on children’s witness abilities started in the 1970s and continues today
-4 factors led to the renewed interested in child witnesses:
1. Expert psychological testimony was becoming more acceptable in court
2. Social scientists were interested in research that could be applied to real-world prob-
lems
3. Studies on adult eyewitness testimony were increasing
4. The legal community became interested in behavioural science research regarding
child witnesses (because of the increasing number of abuse cases where a child was a
victim or witness)
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 27 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
Recall For Events
-studies have found that children are capable of accurately recalling forensically rele-
vant deaths of events
-the challenge is determining when children are recalling accurately and when they are
fabricating (making false claims)
Free Recall Versus Directed Questioning
-when children are asked to report all they can remember, using a free narrative ap-
proach, their accuracy in responding is comparable with that of adults
-unfortunately children tend to report very little information using a free narrative
-direct questions are often necessary to elicit the required information
-when children are asked leading, direct questions, they are more likely to produce an
erroneous response
-older children are more resistant to leading questions
-Dr. Maggie rBuck has been a key researcher in the area of children’s eyewitness and
suggestibility
-direct questions are particularly problematic for preschoolers
-yes/no questions are problematic for children because they rely on recognition rather
than recall, thus increasing the likelihood of error
Why Are Children More Suggestible Than Adults?
-2 directions have been taken to understand this
1. Social Compliance or Social Pressure - children trust and want to cooperate with
adult interviewers, they may infer the desired response, want to please interviewer
2. Changes to the Cognitive System - there are developmental differences in the ways
children and adults encode, store, and retrieve memories
-differences have been found in terms of forgetting and retention
-children misattribute where information came from
-interaction between social and cognitive factors is responsible
-there are a number of techniques and procedures to aid child witnesses with recalling
information
Anatomically Detailed Dots
-a doll consistent with male or female anatomy
-useful when children have difficulty providing a verbal account, children demonstrate
on the doll the events they experienced
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 27 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
-research on this is contradictory
-in a study, younger children were more likely to play with the dolls in a suggestive man-
ner and to contradict details that were reported verbally
-both younger and older children reported proportionally more “fantastic” details with
the dolls than without
-a different study found that children were more likely to report touching when ques-
tioned orally - with direct questions
-children in this study who had not received the genital examination never made false
reports of genital touching on oral free recall or the doll
Should Anatomically Detailed Dolls Be Used?
-difficulties with dolls have been identified
-there are no specifications or guidelines available for manufacturers
-wide variation exists
-there is no standard procedure for scoring the behaviours that children exhibit
Other Techniques for Interviewing Children
Criterion-Based Content Analysis (CBCA) - analysis that uses criteria to distinguish
truthful from false statements made by children
Statement Validity Analysis (SVA) - a comprehensive protocol to distinguish truthful or
false statements made by children containing three parts: (1) a structured interview of
the child witness, (2) a systematic analysis of the verbal content of the child’s state-
ments (CBCA), and (3) the application of the statement validity checklist
-CBCA is considered the most important part of the SVA
-the underlying assumption of the CBCA is that descriptions of real events differ in
queasily and content form memories that are fabricated
-18 criteria were developed to discriminate between true and fabricated events e.g. is
the statement coherent, is the account organized, are there specific descriptions
-it is assumed that true events are more likely to contain the CBCA criteria
-critics of CBCA say there are inconsistencies with the number of criteria that need to
be present to conclude truthfulness and the different decision rules for reaching a con-
clusion
-younger children do not possess the cognitive abilities and command of the language
to provide as detailed statements
-CBCA scores are influenced by both how familiar the event is to the child and how old
the child is
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 27 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in

Document Summary

Unit 6: the child as an eyewitness and victim. It used to be assumed that children were highly susceptible to suggestion and could be easily led in answering questions. It was assumed that they have difficulty in distinguishing between reality and fantasy or between dreams and memories. Jean piaget claimed that the courts should treat the testimony of children under the age of 11 or 12 as unreliable. Contemporary research does not fully support these beliefs. Child victims and witnesses can be traced back to witch trials in 1692. 4 factors led to the renewed interested in child witnesses: 1: social scientists were interested in research that could be applied to real-world prob- Expert psychological testimony was becoming more acceptable in court lems: studies on adult eyewitness testimony were increasing. The legal community became interested in behavioural science research regarding child witnesses (because of the increasing number of abuse cases where a child was a victim or witness)

Get access

Grade+
$10 USD/m
Billed $120 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
40 Verified Answers
Study Guides
Booster Classes
Class+
$8 USD/m
Billed $96 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
30 Verified Answers
Study Guides
Booster Classes