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• Suggestibility is influenced by:
– Age (very young are most suggestible).
– Whether the interviewers’ expectations are clear.
– Whether other children’s memories for events are
- one woman accused another who ran a daycare of sexually abusing her child
- no parents had actually seen evidence of mistreatment
- none of the children had complained to their parents – e.g., Martensville Saskatchewan abuse case - police investigate, questioning the children who went to the daycare (nothing suspicious was reported)
- rumors spread, kids added these to their memories and added to stories with conviction
- no evidence was found except for peoples fears, police arrested accused and ﬁned
- conclusion: everything is all exaggerated since the kids started to believe in it and told the stories in their way Studies of Child Witnesses
• A young man visited children at their preschool,
– read them a story, and handed out treats.
– did nothing aggressive, inappropriate, or
• 1 week later, the experimenter questioned the
children about the man’s visit.
– Group A: leading questions (“Did he shove the
– Group B: leading questions + influence
techniques similar to those used in Martensville
(telling the children what “other kids” had
supposedly said, repeated questioning, etc.) Children’s Testimony
Social Pressure, False Allegations
• When asked if a visitor
committed acts that had
not occurred, few 4-6
year olds said yes.
– 30% of 3-year olds
• When investigators used
techniques taken from
children (1/2 to 4/5! )said
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