Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adults Easily Fooled By Children's False Denials, Study Finds

Date:
August 18, 2008
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
Adults are easily fooled when a child denies that an actual event took place, but do somewhat better at detecting when a child makes up information about something that never happened. These findings have important implications for forensic child sexual abuse evaluations.

Adults are easily fooled when a child denies that an actual event took place, but do somewhat better at detecting when a child makes up information about something that never happened, according to new research from the University of California, Davis.

Related Articles


The research, which has important implications for forensic child sexual abuse evaluations, will be presented Sunday, Aug. 17, at the annual meeting of the American Psychology Association in Boston.

"The large number of children coming into contact with the legal system – mostly as a result of abuse cases – has motivated intense scientific effort to understand children's true and false reports," said UC Davis psychology professor and study author Gail S. Goodman. "The seriousness of abuse charges and the frequency with which children's testimony provides central prosecutorial evidence makes children's eyewitness memory abilities important considerations. Arguably even more important, however, are adults' abilities to evaluate children's reports."

In an effort to determine if adults can discern children's true from false reports, Goodman and her co-investigators asked more than 100 adults to view videotapes of 3- and 5-year-olds being interviewed about "true" and "false" events. For true events, the children either accurately confirmed that the event had occurred or inaccurately denied that it had happened. For "false" events – ones that the children had not experienced – they either truthfully denied having experienced them or falsely reported that they had occurred.

Afterward, the adults were asked to evaluate each child's veracity.

The adults were relatively good at detecting accounts of events that never happened. But the adults were apt to mistakenly believe children's denials of actual events.

"The findings suggest that adults are better at detecting false reports than they are at detecting false denials," Goodman said. "While accurately detecting false reports protects innocent people from false allegations, the failure to detect false denials could mean that adults fail to protect children who falsely deny actual victimization."

Goodman's co-authors include Donna Shestowsky, acting professor of law at UC Davis, and doctoral students Stephanie Block, Jennifer Schaaf and Daisy Segovia.

Goodman was among the first researchers to undertake academic study of children's eyewitness accounts. She is the author of three books and more than 170 scientific articles in the field; some have been cited in U.S. Supreme Court decisions. She is the 2008 recipient of the American Psychological Association's Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology. She will deliver the invited Urie Bronfenbrenner address summarizing her life's work at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, in room 252B at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Adults Easily Fooled By Children's False Denials, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080817223538.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2008, August 18). Adults Easily Fooled By Children's False Denials, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080817223538.htm
University of California - Davis. "Adults Easily Fooled By Children's False Denials, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080817223538.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) — Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) — Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins