The Suggestibility of Child Witnesses

Karpinski and Scullin's (2009) research studies whether theory of brain and executive performing impacts children's inclination to adopt the view asserted by misleading questions under pressured interviews. In addition, effects of age group ranging from 3 to 5 as one factor of suggestibility was looked into. The strategies required 80 preschoolers, over four lessons, to see a video recording and live show prior to a theory of mind test, performance on executive function jobs and a Video tutorial Suggestibility Level for Children (VSSC) to list them predicated on assents to deceptive questions (Yield), changing of answer after reviews (Shift) and total affirmative answers given after feedback in Move (Produce 2). The results revealed that children performed better in theory of head and executive jobs functions with increasing get older, making them less suggestible. This shows that teenagers, by understanding the theory of mind, knowing that the interviewer might have an existing fake belief, and therefore avoids assenting. With the VSSC, lower Yield 2 results correlated with poorer professional functioning, which was observed in youngsters. On top of that, pressure from the interviewer has shown an increased suggestibility in children. However, the study only analyzed children from age range three to five, limiting the age group to a smaller range and did not include teenagers into the review. Moreover, professional functions and theory of head are not the only real factors of specific variations in children that play a role in suggestibility.

Allwood, C. M. , Granhag, P. A. , & Jonsson, A. (2006). Child witnesses' metamemory realism. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 47(6), 461-470.

The analysis conducted was to look for the degree of acceptance of self-assurance judgments to children's answers regarding a video recording in regards to a kidnapping event. This was investigated utilizing a test of 80 children, from 11 to 12 years old. Four assurance scales, the numeric size, picture scale, series range and written level were used. Rate of recurrence judgments of the children were also bought. Prior training was provided to ensure that the children understood the likelihood scale. Results were that participants show overconfidence over-all four self confidence scales after calibration. No significant impact was found whether any of the confidence scales possessed affected the confidence judgment. However, a big change was found by contrasting genders, with young girls being better calibrated that young boys to confidence scales, and the girls got a significantly lower occurrence judgment than males. However, both genders possessed a higher regularity judgment than the number of questions they actually had answered correctly. Finally, by comparing the results obtained from adults who watched the same training video in another review by Allwood et al. (2003), it revealed that children were more overconfident than people. However, this comparability to another analysis cannot promises that the conditions undertook were a similar. The study should lengthen its age range of children to younger children, who remain developing, though it is not known if they would comprehend the various confidence scales to provide it effective to children that get older.

Warren, A. R. , & McGough, L. S. (1996). Research on children's suggestibility: Implications for the investigative interview. Felony Justice and Action, 23(2), 269-303.

This review has consolidated derive from various studies to record the best conditions under which children's recount of encounters would be reliable to use in court docket. This targets removing the opportunity of children's suggestibility. Utilizing the role of the interviewer, the timing of the interview and the procedure, it stresses on details which interviewers should take note of. Specifically, interviewers shouldn't keep any bias, nor ask deceptive questions. This should also be coupled with a non-biased response and building ground rules including the popularity of 'uncertain' as a response. Repetition of questions aren't encouraged, though it could require several classes before details are noted. For interviews, delays would cause more mistakes in recalling, especially in children. Video documented interviews are welcomed, portion as information in court for reliability and a source for children to keep in mind previous interviews. For the interview process, guidelines do include the necessity of creating rapport with the kid and allow free-recall of events, as they provide higher accuracy of memory. One method widely inspired is the cognitive interview. Though anatomically appropriate dolls are not endorsed, age-appropriate vocabulary can be used to encourage the child to point abused body parts. Last but not least, the interview should be achieved in stress free environment. Though these information would greatly help interviewers, the best formula is to permit states to train specialists in interviewing children or building specific standard protocol for other interviewers to check out.


Quas, J. A. , Goodman, G. S. , Ghetti, S. & Redlich, A. D. (2000). Questioning the child witness: What can we conclude from the study thus far? Stress, Violence and Mistreatment, 1(3), 223-249.

The study review conducted a summary of researches and their connection to investigating child witnesses. First, the articles reported distinctions in development between younger and teenagers. It was found that younger children are definitely more suggestible due to poorer recall. However, preschoolers are experienced in script memory, although it is bound to repeated occurrences. Also, though children can remember memory, they have difficulty putting the ram into a logical structure. This is limited by their source storage. The partnership between stress and storage area is not significantly proven, but children who will be more distressed may have a lower recall scheduled to a third factor, such as attention. Stress, especially repeated ones, aren't found to hinder memory space. Another idea to element in is basic knowledge, where knowledge consistent to what the kid has learned is encoded in memory space easily. Next, suggestibility was mentioned. It was discovered that free-recall allows children to give accurate memories, considering that no phony information was presented with prior to remember. However, when false information was given consistently, children's suggestibility increased. Thirdly, individual distinctions in children was researched. It concluded that other than age, interior characteristics of the child can affect the quality of the information elicited. Suggestibility has been related to dual representation, source storage area and imaginativeness of the child. Though much has been concluded from past studies, there are specific areas which have not been researched or little research have been done on those areas.


Lyon, T. D. , & Saywitz, K. J. (2006). From post-mortem to preventive drugs: Next steps for research on child witness. Journal of Friendly Issues, 62(4), 833-861.

The current paper checks future researches that you can do regarding the suggestibility of child witnesses. It proposes to research workers not to only keep abreast of current studies but also develop new models. The study agrees source monitoring training can be conducted to decrease suggestibility in youngsters. Due to reluctance of some children to admit to misuse, research can look into factors influencing such victims and solutions to allay the symptoms. Also, researches should encompass older children, apart from preschoolers. Moreover, laboratory results should be brought out into the field to test its validity. Through combination of field and laboratory work, methods can be sophisticated to bring about better policies. Additionally, recantation, an important subject matter in child witnesses, is a topic yet to be researched. In the same way, sequencing of recall in children and the degree of screen or description of emotions when interviewed can be explored. A lucrative area can be to discover solutions to allow both remedy and legal proceedings to coexist together without increasing suggestibility. Last but not least, the paper suggests that instead of looking to sexual abuse cases, researchers should acknowledge that we now have large proportions of non-sexual conditions that may be investigated. However, creators should remember that these studies must be applied to the field to become rendered effective. It needs policymakers and experts to get together to allow such assistance. Through such partnerships, interview processes can be increased to reduce suggestibility.

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