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Chapter 6

PSYC 2400 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: False Memory Syndrome, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Sleep Disorder

5 pages122 viewsWinter 2012

Course Code
PSYC 2400
Adelle Forth

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Chapter 6
Child victims and witnesses
Earliest can be dated back to the Salem Witch Trails
o False hoods about the supernatural
o After a significant number of girls recanted their testimony the legal attitude towards
child witnesses was skepticism.
Reviews from this time conclude that children are suggestible and had difficulty separating fact
from fantasy
1970 more research was done into child witnesses and testimony
o outlined four factors that led to the renewed interest of child witnesses;
1) Expert psychological testimony was becoming more acceptable in the courtroom
2) Social scientists were interested in research that could be applied to real world
3) Studies on adult eyewitness testimony were increasing
4) The legal community became interested in behavioural science research regarding
child witnesses
o In response to the increasing number of reported sexual and physical abuse cases where
a child was a victim or witness
o Fabricating; making false claims
Free Recall v. Directed questioning (148)
o Children have little information when using free recall
o The older you get the more resistant you are to leading questions
o Direct questions that require yes or no response or use a forced choice format are
problematic for preschoolers
o Recall = better accuracy
o Yes/no are based on recognition therefore room for more error
Why are children more suggestible than adults? (150)
o Social characteristics they respond to the interviewers in the manner they feel the
interviewer desires (social compliance)
Problematic; instead of answering questions ‘I don’t know’ they answer ‘yes/no’
o Changes to the cognitive systemdifference in ways children encode, store and
retrieve memories
May report on event that they heard about as if they experienced it themselves
o Overall;
researchers believe that an interaction of social and cognitive factors is likely
responsible for children’s suggestibility and their reporting of false information
Must be careful with Direct questions
Anatomically detailed dolls(152)
o A doll that consists with the male or female anatomy
o More fantastic details when doll is present
o Experiment; half the girls got a Genital examination. In this study many of the children
failed to report genital touching when they were asked verbally, or they failed to show
on the dolls what had happened. However when asked a direct question many of the
children agreed- including those who did not have the exam.
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o Should they be used?
Inaccurate and dangerous
No guide lines on how to make dolls
Other techniques for interviewing children (152)
o Criterion based content analysis (CBCA-German)
Used criteria to distinguish truthful from false statements made by children
Turned into the statement validity analysis
1) structured interview with the victim
2) systematic analysis of the verbal content of the victims statement
using CBCA
3) the application of a statement validity checklist
Age of the interviewee is positively correlated with scores on the CBCA
CBCA scores calculate by using truthful, based on his or her own interpretation
of the statement
o Step-Wise Interview
Series of steps
Start interview with the least leading questions and directive type of
questioning then proceed to more specific forms of questioning as necessary
Three types
1) Step wise procedure (specific questioning
2) Modified structure interview (wh-questions BEST)
3) Action for child protection (dolls-LEAST effective)
o Narrative Elaboration
Organize stores into relevant categories
Participants, settings, actions, conversation, consequences
Cards are given then asked if it reminds them of anything else
1) Exposed to event
2) Free narrative
3) Cue cards given
More accurate information but not more inaccurate information for the staged
event compared to when just the cue cards were presented without training or
the standard interview
Mental reinstatement did not increase accuracy
o Cognitive interview
More accuracy then control conditions
Uses free recall
o False memory syndrome false belief that they were sexually assaulted as child,
having no memory of this until they enter therapy
Can traumatic memories be forgotten?(158)
o Five criteria to consider when determining the veracity of a recovered memory
1) Age of complainant at the time of alleged abuse (unlikely to have memory under 2)
2) Techniques used to recover memory (hypnosis and guided imagery encourage
3) Similarity of reports across interview sessions
4) Motivation for recall
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