Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Child Witnesses: How To Improve Their Performance

Date:
September 18, 2008
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
A study at the University of Leicester into how to improve child and young adult witnesses' evidence has looked at several issues that affect witnesses' accuracy.

A study at the University of Leicester into how to improve child and young adult witnesses' evidence has looked at several issues that affect witnesses' accuracy.

The investigation, carried out in Estonia by postgraduate psychologist Kristjan Kask, looked at issues such as police officers' interviewing methods with children; young adults' skill in describing people; and the ability of both children and young adults to identify faces with different racial features.

Dr Kask looked at the real-life interview protocols conducted by Estonian police officers. He found that open-ended questions, such as 'Tell me more of what happened', resulted in more significant information that could help prove or disprove a culprit guilty. Closed questions, such as: 'Did he wear a brown jacket?' proved less effective.

However, obtaining this information presented problems of its own, as Dr Kask explained: "Conducting eyewitness research involving children is a very challenging task.

"It was difficult at times to get access to relevant organizations such as police forces. For example, when I collected the data from one department then only transcripts conducted by officers not working there any more were provided."

It is known that witnesses, especially young witnesses, can recognise people more easily than they can describe them. Dr Kask's study looked at whether young adults can use a 'standard` as an aid to help them provide more accurate information about a person they may only have seen once.

This involves comparing the memory about the 'target' with the interviewer, for instance: 'Compared to me how tall was he?' However, this was found to have no effect in improving witnesses' descriptions.

A great deal of forensic psychology research has examined the recognition of people of different ethnic groups using lineups in police settings. From this, psychologists have found that people recognise faces with their own ethnic characteristics more accurately than those of other ethnic groups.

What is less clear is how faces of different ethnic origin are recognized when they are presented together in large numbers. For instance border guards or immigration officers may see a large number of people during the day and have to decide whether some of them might be in the 'wanted` list.

Dr Kask showed young Estonian adults several 'target' faces of different ethnicities followed by a larger group of faces. They had to decide for each face whether it was one of the faces they had seen earlier.

He found that the young people taking part in his study could recognise the 'target' faces from different ethnicities equally well. However, they found it harder to reject faces that were of a different ethnic group from their own.

Dr Kask concluded: "When a multi-perpetrator crime takes place, then identifying the real culprits can be problematic and will depend on different aspects of face recognition, such as own- or other-ethnicity targets; target presence or absence in the recognition set; and/or the location of lineup fillers and target(s) in the lineup."

Dr Kristjan Kask received his BSc and MSc in psychology from the University of Tartu, Estonia.

.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Child Witnesses: How To Improve Their Performance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916143854.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2008, September 18). Child Witnesses: How To Improve Their Performance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916143854.htm
University of Leicester. "Child Witnesses: How To Improve Their Performance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080916143854.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Work Can Be Stressful, But Is Unemployment Worse?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) A new study shows stress at work can be hard on your health, but people who are unemployed might be at even greater risk of health problems. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Google says it is following Europe's new "Right To Be Forgotten Law," which eliminates user information upon request, but only to a certain degree. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) Sometimes the signs of a stroke are far from easy to recognize. Learn from one young father’s story on the signs of a stroke. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) Could eating carbohydrates be harmful to our brain health? Find out what one neurologist says about changing our diets. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:
from the past week

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