Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Emotional children's testimonies are judged as more credible

Date:
March 31, 2014
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
A new study show that aspiring lawyers assess child complainants as more credible and truthful if they communicate their statement in an emotional manner. Thus, there is a risk that children that behave in a neutral manner may be perceived as less credible in court.

A new study from the University of Gothenburg, show that aspiring lawyers assess child complainants as more credible and truthful if they communicate their statement in an emotional manner. Thus, there is a risk that children that behave in a neutral manner may be perceived as less credible in court.

In an experimental legal psychology study, two young actors (one girl and one boy) portrayed victims in a mock-police investigation. They were questioned by the police about how they had been harassed by older schoolmates. The police interviews were videotaped in two versions: In one version the children appeared in a neutral manner but in the other version, the children showed clear signs of distress, as they sobbed and hesitated before answering the police officers' questions.

The films were later shown and assessed by law students that were familiar with the Supreme Court's criteria for how to assess the credibility of testimonies.

The results show that the children, despite giving the exact same testimonies, were perceived as more credible and truthful when expressing emotions than when behaving in a more neutral manner. The reason for these differences was that the law students had stereotypical believes that child victims should appear emotional. The law students also felt greater compassion for the emotional children.

'This is problematic since many children don't display strong negative emotions when questioned by police,' says Sara Landström, researcher in legal psychology at the Department of Psychology. 'There is a risk that these children will be considered less credible in court.'

Since witnesses and technical evidence are often lacking in cases involving child abuse, courts are often forced to rely solely on the victim's own testimony 'It is therefore very important that courts assess the credibility of a testimony based on what children say and not on how they say it,' says Sara Landström.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Sara Landström, Karl Ask, Charlotte Sommar, Rebecca Willén. Children's testimony and the emotional victim effect. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/lcrp.12036

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Emotional children's testimonies are judged as more credible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331113851.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2014, March 31). Emotional children's testimonies are judged as more credible. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331113851.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Emotional children's testimonies are judged as more credible." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331113851.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
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