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PSYC 2400 (77)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 2400
Professor
Adelle Forth

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Chapter 6 Child victims and witnesses HISTORY  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 problems 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 RECALL FOR EVENTS 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 systemdifference 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. 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 RECALL MEMORY FOLLOWING A LONG DELAY 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 fantasy 3) Similarity of reports across interview sessions 4) Motivation for recall 5) Time elapsed since alleged abuse o Historic child sexual abuseallegations of
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