Textbook Notes (381,335)
CA (168,503)
UTSC (19,326)
Psychology (10,054)
PSYC39H3 (204)
Chapter 6

chapter 6 notes

6 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC39H3
Professor
David Nussbaum

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PSYC39 Chap 6: Child Victims and Witnesses
History
Four factors that led to the renewed interest in child witnesses
oExpert psychological testimony was becoming more acceptable
oMore interest in research that could be applied to real life problems
oStudies on adult eyewitness testimony increasing
oInterest in behavioural science research regarding child witnesses
Recall for events
Research suggests that the accuracy of children’s reporting is highly dependent on how they are
asked to report
Free recall vs. directed questioning
When children are asked to report all they can remember, using a free narrative approach, their
accuracy in reporting is comparable with adults
When children are asked leading, direct questions, more likely to produce erroneous response
than nonleading, direct questions
Older children and adults are more resistant to leading questions than younger children
Direct questions require yes/no response or use a forced-choice format
oPreschoolers show bias towards saying yes to saying no in forced yes/no response
oNo demonstration of bias for multiple-choice questions
Why are children more suggestible than adults?
2 directions have been taken to understand children’s greater propensity towards suggestibility
o1 focus: Social compliance
Children may respond to suggestive influences because they trust and want to
cooperate with adult interviewers
o2nd focus: Changes to cognitive system
Research found developmental differences in the ways children and adults
encode, store and retrieve memories
Differences found in terms of forgetting and retention
Children misattribute where the info came from (they may report an event as
actually experienced rather than something they actually heard from somewhere
else)
Researchers believe that an interaction of social and cognitive factors is likely responsible to
explain children’s suggestibility
Interviewers need to balance asking direct questions with the risk of obtaining false info
Anatomically detailed dolls
When interviewing children suspected of being sexually abused, some professional introduce
anatomically detailed dolls
oAnatomically detailed dolls: a doll, sometimes a rag doll, that is consistent with the
male or female anatomy
The assumption underlying the use of these dolls is that children may have difficulty verbalizing
what occurred and in their play with dolls they will demonstrate the events they experienced
Theirry, Lamb, Orbach and Pipe
www.notesolution.com
oYounger group (3-6 years) and Older group (7-12 years)
oWhen direct questions posed, 3-6 years more likely to use dolls to re-enact
o7-12 provided more verbal details than use the dolls
oOverall, both younger/older children reported more details with the dolls than without
DeLoache and Marzolf
oChildren 3-5 years to describe upsetting event that occurred in classroom
oSome kids used the dolls, some described it orally
oGreater proportion of inaccurate details provided when children used the dolls than when
they described it orally
Goodman, Quas, Riddlesberger, Kuhn
o3-10 year olds who had been touched during an examination were more likely to report
touching with dolls than when questioned orally
Should they be used?
oNo specification or guidelines are available for manufacturers
oWide variation exists
oNo standard procedure for scoring behaviours children exhibit when playing with dolls
Other techniques for interviewing children
Criterion-based content analysis
oCriterion-based content analysis: analysis using criteria to distinguish truthful from
false statements made by children
Statement validity anaylsis: protocol to dinstinguish truthful from false statements made by
children containing 3 parts
oStructured interview of the child witness
oAnalysis of the verbal content of the childs statements
oThe application of the statements validity
To evaluate the accuracy of the CBCA, 2 types of studies are used
oField studies
Greater ecological validity than simulation studies
Hard to know if statements made by children are false or true
Criteria used to estimate if the statements are false is decided by experimentor
oSimulation studies
Children were told to tell 2 stories, 1 real and 1 fake
Using CBCA criteria, blind evaluators scored the stories
Lacking ecological validity
Inconsistencies with the number of criteria that need to be present to conclude truthfulness is a
large difficulty
Age of the interviewee is positively correlated with scores on the CBCA
oYoung children do not possess the cognitive abilities and command of the language to
provide as detailed statements as older kids
oTruthful statements by younger interviewees may be judged as doubtful because its
missing certain CBCA criteria
Step-wise interview
Stepwise interview: interview protocol with a series of steps designed to start the interview
with the least leading and directive type of questioning then proceeding to more specific forms of
questioning
www.notesolution.com

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Description
PSYC39 Chap 6: Child Victims and Witnesses History Four factors that led to the renewed interest in child witnesses o Expert psychological testimony was becoming more acceptable o More interest in research that could be applied to real life problems o Studies on adult eyewitness testimony increasing o Interest in behavioural science research regarding child witnesses Recall for events Research suggests that the accuracy of childrens reporting is highly dependent on how they are asked to report Free recall vs. directed questioning When children are asked to report all they can remember, using a free narrative approach, their accuracy in reporting is comparable with adults When children are asked leading, direct questions, more likely to produce erroneous response than nonleading, direct questions Older children and adults are more resistant to leading questions than younger children Direct questions require yesno response or use a forced-choice format o Preschoolers show bias towards saying yes to saying no in forced yesno response o No demonstration of bias for multiple-choice questions Why are children more suggestible than adults? 2 directions have been taken to understand childrens greater propensity towards suggestibility o 1 focus: Social compliance Children may respond to suggestive influences because they trust and want to cooperate with adult interviewers o 2 focus: Changes to cognitive system Research found developmental differences in the ways children and adults encode, store and retrieve memories Differences found in terms of forgetting and retention Children misattribute where the info came from (they may report an event as actually experienced rather than something they actually heard from somewhere else) Researchers believe that an interaction of social and cognitive factors is likely responsible to explain childrens suggestibility Interviewers need to balance asking direct questions with the risk of obtaining false info Anatomically detailed dolls When interviewing children suspected of being sexually abused, some professional introduce anatomically detailed dolls o Anatomically detailed dolls: a doll, sometimes a rag doll, that is consistent with the male or female anatomy The assumption underlying the use of these dolls is that children may have difficulty verbalizing what occurred and in their play with dolls they will demonstrate the events they experienced Theirry, Lamb, Orbach and Pipe www.notesolution.com
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