“That never happened”: Adults’ discernment of children’s true and false memory reports.

by
Block, Stephanie D.; Shestowsky, Donna; Segovia, Daisy A.; Goodman, Gail S.; Schaaf,
Jennifer M.; Alexander, Kristen Weede
Law and Human Behavior, Nov 21, 2011, No Pagination Specified.

Abstract

Adults’ evaluations of children’s reports can determine whether legal proceedings are undertaken and whether they ultimately lead to justice.

Results revealed that adults were generally better able to correctly judge accurate reports, accurate denials, and false reports compared with false denials: For false denials, adults were, on average, “confident” that the event had not occurred, even though the event had in fact been experienced.

These findings underscore the greater difficulty adults have in evaluating young children’s false denials compared with other types of reports. Implications for law-related situations in which adults are called upon to evaluate children’s statements are discussed.

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