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Identifying Liars Through Automatic Decoding Of Children's Facial Expressions, Kaila Bruer, Sarah Zanette, Xiaopan Ding, Thomas D. Lyon, Kang Lee Sep 2019

Identifying Liars Through Automatic Decoding Of Children's Facial Expressions, Kaila Bruer, Sarah Zanette, Xiaopan Ding, Thomas D. Lyon, Kang Lee

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This study explored whether children’s (N=158; 4-9 years-old) nonverbal facial expressions can be used to identify when children are being deceptive. Using a computer vision program to automatically decode children’s facial expressions according to the Facial Action Coding System, this study employed machine learning to determine whether facial expressions can be used to discriminate between children who concealed breaking a toy(liars) and those who did not break a toy(nonliars). Results found that, regardless of age or history of maltreatment, children’s facial expressions could accurately (73%) distinguished between liars and nonliars. Two emotions, surprise and ...


Younger And Older Adults' Lie-Detection And Credibility Judgments Of Children's Coached Reports, Alison M. O'Connor, Thomas D. Lyon, Angela Evans Sep 2019

Younger And Older Adults' Lie-Detection And Credibility Judgments Of Children's Coached Reports, Alison M. O'Connor, Thomas D. Lyon, Angela Evans

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Previous research has examined young and middle-aged adults’ perceptions of child witnesses; however, no research to date has examined how potential older adult jurors may perceive a child witness. The present investigation examined younger (18–30 years, N = 100) and older adults’ (66–89 years, N = 100) liedetection and credibility judgments when viewing children’s truthful and dishonest reports. Participants viewed eight child interview videos where children (9–11 years of age) either provided a truthful report or a coached fabricated report to conceal a transgression. Participants provided lie-detection judgments following all eight videos and credibility assessments following the first ...


72. Identifying Liars Through Automatic Decoding Of Children’S Facial Expressions., Kaila C. Bruer, Sarah Zanette, Xiaopan Ding, Thomas D. Lyon, Kang Lee Sep 2019

72. Identifying Liars Through Automatic Decoding Of Children’S Facial Expressions., Kaila C. Bruer, Sarah Zanette, Xiaopan Ding, Thomas D. Lyon, Kang Lee

Thomas D. Lyon

This study explored whether children’s (N=158; 4-9 years-old) nonverbal facial expressions can be used to identify when children are being deceptive. Using a computer vision program to automatically decode children’s facial expressions according to the Facial Action Coding System, this study employed machine learning to determine whether facial expressions can be used to discriminate between children who concealed breaking a toy(liars) and those who did not break a toy(nonliars). Results found that, regardless of age or history of maltreatment, children’s facial expressions could accurately (73%) distinguished between liars and nonliars. Two emotions, surprise and ...


The Effects Of The Putative Confession And Evidence Presentation On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated 9- To 12-Year-Olds' Coached Concealment Of A Minor Transgression, Angela Evans, Thomas D. Lyon Jul 2019

The Effects Of The Putative Confession And Evidence Presentation On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated 9- To 12-Year-Olds' Coached Concealment Of A Minor Transgression, Angela Evans, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The present study examined the influence of the putative confession (in which children are told that the suspect told them “everything that happened” and “wants [the child] to tell the truth”) and evidence presentation on 9- to 12-year-old maltreated and non-maltreated children’s disclosure (N = 321). Half of the children played a forbidden game with an adult confederate which resulted in a laptop breaking (no transgression occurred for the other half of children), followed by coaching to conceal the forbidden game and to falsely disclose the sanctioned game. Children were then interviewed about the interaction with the confederate. Among the ...


Effects Of The Putative Confession Instruction On Perceptions Of Children's True And False Statements, Jennifer Gongola, Nicholas Scurich, Thomas D. Lyon Jul 2019

Effects Of The Putative Confession Instruction On Perceptions Of Children's True And False Statements, Jennifer Gongola, Nicholas Scurich, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The putative confession instruction (“[suspect] told me everything that happened and wants you to tell the truth”) during forensic interviews with children has been shown to increase the accuracy of children’s statements, but it is unclear whether adult’s perceptions are sensitive to this salutary effect. The present study examined how adults perceive children’s true and false responses to the putative confession (PC) instruction. Participants (n = 299) watched videotaped interviews of children and rated the child’s credibility and the truthfulness of his/her statements. When viewing children’s responses to the PC instruction, true and false statements ...


70. Children’S Concealment Of A Minor Transgression: The Role Of Age, Maltreatment, And Executive Functioning., Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon Jul 2019

70. Children’S Concealment Of A Minor Transgression: The Role Of Age, Maltreatment, And Executive Functioning., Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

This study examined the role of age, maltreatment status, and executive functioning (EF) on 752 4- to 9-year-old maltreated and nonmaltreated children’s recall disclosure of a transgression in which they appeared to have broken toys while playing with a stranger. Interviewers used narrative practice rapport-building and then questioned children with free recall and cued recall questions. Younger and maltreated children were more likely to disclose during rapport-building, whereas older and nonmaltreated children were more likely to disclose in response to recall questions. Working memory deficits appeared to mediate the relation between children’s characteristics and disclosure during rapport, but ...


Children's Concealment Of A Minor Transgression: The Role Of Age, Maltreatment, And Executive Functioning, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon Jul 2019

Children's Concealment Of A Minor Transgression: The Role Of Age, Maltreatment, And Executive Functioning, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This study examined the role of age, maltreatment status, and executive functioning (EF) on 752 4- to 9-year-old maltreated and nonmaltreated children’s recall disclosure of a transgression in which they appeared to have broken toys while playing with a stranger. Interviewers used narrative practice rapport-building and then questioned children with free recall and cued recall questions. Younger and maltreated children were more likely to disclose during rapport-building, whereas older and nonmaltreated children were more likely to disclose in response to recall questions. Working memory deficits appeared to mediate the relation between children’s characteristics and disclosure during rapport, but ...


Adults' Perceptions Of Children's Referentially Ambiguous Responses, Breanne E. Wylie, Thomas D. Lyon, Alison M. O'Connor, Christina Lapytskaia, Angela Evans Jul 2019

Adults' Perceptions Of Children's Referentially Ambiguous Responses, Breanne E. Wylie, Thomas D. Lyon, Alison M. O'Connor, Christina Lapytskaia, Angela Evans

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The present study examined adults’ (N = 295) interpretations of child witnesses’ referentially ambiguous “yes” and “no” responses to “Do You Know/Remember (DYK/R) if/whether” questions (e.g., “Do you know if it was blue?”). Participants were presented with transcripts from child sexual abuse cases modified based on question format (DYK/R vs. Direct) and child response type (Yes, No, I don’t know) in a between subjects design. We assessed whether adults recognized that children’s ambiguous responses were unclear, and if not, how they were interpreting children’s responses compared to the control (Direct) conditions. More specifically ...


The Role Of Kinship And Siblings In Young Children's Placement Preferences, Kelli Dickerson, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas Jun 2019

The Role Of Kinship And Siblings In Young Children's Placement Preferences, Kelli Dickerson, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Although considerable attention has been directed toward the most appropriate placement for children following removal from home due to maltreatment, very little of this attention has focused on children’s stated preferences, particularly when they are young. Specifically, children under 12 years of age are typically presumed incompetent to form reasoned judgments about their best interests in placement. This assumption, however, has rarely been tested directly. We surveyed 100 4- to 11-year-olds removed from home because of maltreatment about their placement preferences. Children were less likely to indicate they wanted to return home if they were placed with siblings or ...


69. The Role Of Kinship And Siblings In Young Children’S Placement Preferences., Kelli Dickerson, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas May 2019

69. The Role Of Kinship And Siblings In Young Children’S Placement Preferences., Kelli Dickerson, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas

Thomas D. Lyon

Although considerable attention has been directed toward the most appropriate placement for children following removal from home due to maltreatment, very little of this attention has focused on children’s stated preferences, particularly when they are young. Specifically, children under 12 years of age are typically presumed incompetent to form reasoned judgments about their best interests in placement. This assumption, however, has rarely been tested directly. We surveyed 100 4- to 11-year-olds removed from home because of maltreatment about their placement preferences. Children were less likely to indicate they wanted to return home if they were placed with siblings or ...


Increasing Maltreated And Nonmaltreated Children's Recall Disclosures Of A Minor Transgression: The Effects Of Back-Channel Utterances, A Promise To Tell The Truth And A Post-Recall Putative Confession, Kelly Mcwilliams, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Thomas D. Lyon May 2019

Increasing Maltreated And Nonmaltreated Children's Recall Disclosures Of A Minor Transgression: The Effects Of Back-Channel Utterances, A Promise To Tell The Truth And A Post-Recall Putative Confession, Kelly Mcwilliams, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Background: Children are often hesitant to disclose transgressions, particularly when they feel implicated, and frequently remain reluctant until confronted with direct questions. Given the risks associated with direct questions, an important issue is how interviewers can encourage honesty through recall questions. Objective: The present study examined the use of three truth induction strategies for increasing the accuracy and productivity of children’s reports about a transgression. Participants: A total of 285 4-to-9-year-old maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Methods: Each child took part in a play session with a stranger during which the child appeared to break some toys. A research assistant ...


68. Increasing Maltreated And Nonmaltreated Children’S Recall Disclosures Of A Minor Transgression: The Effects Of Back-Channel Utterances, A Promise To Tell The Truth And A Post-Recall Putative Confession., Kelly Mcwilliams, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Thomas D. Lyon May 2019

68. Increasing Maltreated And Nonmaltreated Children’S Recall Disclosures Of A Minor Transgression: The Effects Of Back-Channel Utterances, A Promise To Tell The Truth And A Post-Recall Putative Confession., Kelly Mcwilliams, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Background: Children are often hesitant to disclose transgressions, particularly when they feel implicated, and frequently remain reluctant until confronted with direct questions. Given the risks associated with direct questions, an important issue is how interviewers can encourage honesty through recall questions. Objective: The present study examined the use of three truth induction strategies for increasing the accuracy and productivity of children’s reports about a transgression. Participants: A total of 285 4-to-9-year-old maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Methods: Each child took part in a play session with a stranger during which the child appeared to break some toys. A research assistant ...


68. Increasing Maltreated And Nonmaltreated Children’S Recall Disclosures Of A Minor Transgression: The Effects Of Back-Channel Utterances, A Promise To Tell The Truth And A Post-Recall Putative Confession., Kelly Mcwilliams, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Thomas D. Lyon May 2019

68. Increasing Maltreated And Nonmaltreated Children’S Recall Disclosures Of A Minor Transgression: The Effects Of Back-Channel Utterances, A Promise To Tell The Truth And A Post-Recall Putative Confession., Kelly Mcwilliams, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Background: Children are often hesitant to disclose transgressions, particularly when they feel implicated, and frequently remain reluctant until confronted with direct questions. Given the risks associated with direct questions, an important issue is how interviewers can encourage honesty through recall questions. Objective: The present study examined the use of three truth induction strategies for increasing the accuracy and productivity of children’s reports about a transgression. Participants: A total of 285 4-to-9-year-old maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Methods: Each child took part in a play session with a stranger during which the child appeared to break some toys. A research assistant ...


Child Witnesses, Thomas D. Lyon, Kelly Mcwilliams, Shanna Williams Mar 2019

Child Witnesses, Thomas D. Lyon, Kelly Mcwilliams, Shanna Williams

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

In this chapter we provide an overview of psychological issues involving children’s capacities as witnesses. First, we discuss the kinds of cases in which children are usually involved. Across different courts, one most often sees children describing abuse at the hands of familiar adults. Second, we describe the difficulties children encounter in disclosing abuse, particularly when it is perpetrated by adults close to them. These dynamics lead most children to remain silent, and only the most forthcoming children to disclose. Third, we suggest a framework for assessing children’s allegations, in which child-generated and adult-generated information lie on opposite ...


The Utility Of Direct Questions In Eliciting Subjective Content From Children Disclosing Sexual Abuse, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Catherine Liang, Thomas D. Lyon Mar 2019

The Utility Of Direct Questions In Eliciting Subjective Content From Children Disclosing Sexual Abuse, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Catherine Liang, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Background: Children alleging sexual abuse rarely exhibit emotion when disclosing, but they may be able to describe their subjective reactions to abuse if asked.

Objective: This study examined the extent to which different types of questions in child sexual abuse interviews elicited subjective content, namely emotional reactions, cognitive content, and physical sensations.

Participants and Setting: The study included transcripts of 205 Child Advocacy Center interviews with 4- to 12-year-old children alleging sexual abuse.

Methods: We coded questions for question type, distinguishing among invitations, wh- questions, yes/no and forced-choice questions, and suggestive questions. We coded both questions and answers for ...


67. The Utility Of Direct Questions In Eliciting Subjective Content From Children Disclosing Sexual Abuse., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Catherine Liang, Thomas D. Lyon Feb 2019

67. The Utility Of Direct Questions In Eliciting Subjective Content From Children Disclosing Sexual Abuse., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Catherine Liang, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Background: Children alleging sexual abuse rarely exhibit emotion when disclosing, but they may be able to describe their subjective reactions to abuse if asked. Objective: This study examined the extent to which different types of questions in child sexual abuse interviews elicited subjective content, namely emotional reactions, cognitive content, and physical sensations.
Participants and Setting: The study included transcripts of 205 Child Advocacy Center interviews with 4- to 12-year-old children alleging sexual abuse.
Methods: We coded questions for question type, distinguishing among invitations, wh- questions, yes/no and forced-choice questions, and suggestive questions. We coded both questions and answers for ...


66. Younger And Older Adults’ Lie-Detection And Credibility Judgments Of Children’S Coached Reports, Alison M. O'Connor, Thomas D. Lyon, Angela D. Evans Jan 2019

66. Younger And Older Adults’ Lie-Detection And Credibility Judgments Of Children’S Coached Reports, Alison M. O'Connor, Thomas D. Lyon, Angela D. Evans

Thomas D. Lyon

Previous research has examined young and middle-aged adults’ perceptions of child witnesses; however, no research to date has examined how potential older adult jurors may perceive a child witness. The present investigation examined younger (18-30 years, N = 100) and older adults’ (66-89 years, N = 100) lie-detection and credibility judgments when viewing children’s truthful and dishonest reports. Participants viewed eight child interview videos where children (9 to 11 years of age) either provided a truthful report or a coached fabricated report to conceal a transgression. Participants provided lie-detection judgments following all eight videos and credibility assessments following the first two ...


Maltreated Children's Ability To Make Temporal Judgments Using A Recurring Landmark Event, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon, J A. Quas Jan 2019

Maltreated Children's Ability To Make Temporal Judgments Using A Recurring Landmark Event, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon, J A. Quas

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This study examined whether maltreated children are capable of judging the location and order of significant events with respect to a recurring landmark event. 167 6- to 10-year-old maltreated children were asked whether the current day, their last court visit, and their last change in placement were “near” their birthday and “before or after” their birthday. Children showed some understanding that the target event was “near” and “before” their birthday when their birthday was less than three months hence, but were relatively insensitive to preceding birthdays. Hence, children exhibited a prospective bias, preferentially answering with reference to a forthcoming birthday ...


65. Adults’ Perceptions Of Children’S Referentially Ambiguous Responses., Breanne E. Wylie, Thomas D. Lyon, Alison M. O’Connor, Christina Lapytskaia, Angela D. Evans Oct 2018

65. Adults’ Perceptions Of Children’S Referentially Ambiguous Responses., Breanne E. Wylie, Thomas D. Lyon, Alison M. O’Connor, Christina Lapytskaia, Angela D. Evans

Thomas D. Lyon

The present study examined adults’ (N = 295) interpretations of child witnesses’ referentially ambiguous “yes” and “no” responses to “Do You Know/Remember (DYK/R) if/whether” questions (e.g., “Do you know if it was blue?”). Participants were presented with transcripts from child sexual abuse cases modified based on question format (DYK/R vs. Direct) and child response type (Yes, No, I don’t know) in a between subjects design. We assessed whether adults recognized that children’s ambiguous responses were unclear, and if not, how they were interpreting children’s responses compared to the control (Direct) conditions. More specifically ...


64. Effects Of The Putative Confession Instruction On Perceptions Of Children’S True And False Statements, Jennifer Gongola, Nicholas Scurich, Thomas D. Lyon Oct 2018

64. Effects Of The Putative Confession Instruction On Perceptions Of Children’S True And False Statements, Jennifer Gongola, Nicholas Scurich, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

The putative confession instruction (“[suspect] told me everything that happened and wants you to tell the truth”) during forensic interviews with children has been shown to increase the accuracy of children’s statements, but it is unclear whether adult’s perceptions are sensitive to this salutary effect. The present study examined how adults perceive children’s true and false responses to the putative confession (PC) instruction. Participants (n = 299) watched videotaped interviews of children and rated the child’s credibility and the truthfulness of his/her statements. When viewing children’s responses to the PC instruction, true and false statements ...


Children's Conversational Memory Regarding A Minor Transgression And A Subsequent Interview, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon Aug 2018

Children's Conversational Memory Regarding A Minor Transgression And A Subsequent Interview, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Children’s memories for their conversations are commonly explored in child abuse cases. In two studies, we examined conversational recall in 154 4- to 9-year-old children’s reports of an interaction with a stranger, some of whom were complicit in a transgression and were admonished to keep it a secret. Immediately afterwards, all children were interviewed about their interaction. One week later, children were asked recall questions about their interaction with the stranger, their conversations with the stranger, and their conversations with the interviewer. Overall, interaction recall questions elicited few details about children’s conversations, whereas conversation recall questions were ...


The Productivity Of Wh- Prompts In Child Forensic Interviews, Elizabeth C, Ahern, Samantha J. Andrews, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon Jun 2018

The Productivity Of Wh- Prompts In Child Forensic Interviews, Elizabeth C, Ahern, Samantha J. Andrews, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Child witnesses are often asked wh- prompts (what, how, why, who, when, where) in forensic interviews. However, little research has examined the ways in which children respond to different wh- prompts and no previous research has investigated productivity differences among wh- prompts in investigative interviews. This study examined the use and productivity of wh- prompts in 95 transcripts of 4- to 13-year-olds alleging sexual abuse in child investigative interviews. What-how questions about actions elicited the most productive responses during both the rapport building and substantive phases. Future research and practitioner training should consider distinguishing among different wh- prompts.


Bait Questions As Source Of Misinformation In Police Interviews: Does Race Or Age Of The Suspect Increase Jurors' Memory Errors?, Matilde Ascheri Jun 2018

Bait Questions As Source Of Misinformation In Police Interviews: Does Race Or Age Of The Suspect Increase Jurors' Memory Errors?, Matilde Ascheri

Student Theses

Bait questions—hypothetical questions about evidence, often used by detectives during interrogations—can activate the misinformation effect and alter jurors’ perceptions of the evidence of a case. Here, we were interested in investigating whether mock jurors’ implicit biases could amplify the magnitude of the misinformation effect. We accomplished this by manipulating the age and race of the suspect being interrogated. As an extension of Luke et al. (2017), we had participants read a police report describing evidence found at a crime scene, then read a transcript of a police interrogation where the detective used bait questions to introduce new evidence ...


63. Children’S Conversational Memory Regarding A Minor Transgression And A Subsequent Interview., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon May 2018

63. Children’S Conversational Memory Regarding A Minor Transgression And A Subsequent Interview., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Children’s memories for their conversations are commonly explored in child abuse cases. In two studies, we examined conversational recall in 154 4- to 9-year-old children’s reports of an interaction with a stranger, some of whom were complicit in a transgression and were admonished to keep it a secret. Immediately afterwards, all children were interviewed about their interaction. One week later, children were asked recall questions about their interaction with the stranger, their conversations with the stranger, and their conversations with the interviewer. Overall, interaction recall questions elicited few details about children’s conversations, whereas conversation recall questions were ...


The Effects Of Implicit Encouragement And The Putative Confession On Children's Memory Reports, Kyndra C. Cleveland, J A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon Apr 2018

The Effects Of Implicit Encouragement And The Putative Confession On Children's Memory Reports, Kyndra C. Cleveland, J A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The current study tested the effects of two interview techniques on children's report productivity and accuracy following exposure to suggestion: implicit encouragement (backchanneling, use of children's names) and the putative confession (telling children that a suspect "told me everything that happened and wants you to tell the truth"). One hundred and forty-three, 3-8-year-old children participated in a classroom event. One week later, they took part in a highly suggestive conversation about the event and then a mock forensic interview in which the two techniques were experimentally manipulated. Greater use of implicit encouragement led to increases, with age, in ...


62. The Effects Of Implicit Encouragement And The Putative Confession On Children’S Memory Reports., Kyndra C. Cleveland, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon Mar 2018

62. The Effects Of Implicit Encouragement And The Putative Confession On Children’S Memory Reports., Kyndra C. Cleveland, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

The current study tested the effects of two interview techniques on children's report productivity and accuracy following exposure to suggestion: implicit encouragement (backchanneling, use of children's names) and the putative confession (telling children that a suspect "told me everything that happened and wants you to tell the truth"). One hundred and forty-three, 3-8-year-old children participated in a classroom event. One week later, they took part in a highly suggestive conversation about the event and then a mock forensic interview in which the two techniques were experimentally manipulated. Greater use of implicit encouragement led to increases, with age, in ...


Ask Versus Tell: Potential Confusion When Child Witnesses Are Questioned About Conversastions, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon Jan 2018

Ask Versus Tell: Potential Confusion When Child Witnesses Are Questioned About Conversastions, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Children’s potential confusion between “ask” and “tell” can lead to misunderstandings when child witnesses are asked to report prior conversations. The verbs distinguish both between interrogating and informing and between requesting and commanding. Children’s understanding was examined using both field (i.e., Study 1) and laboratory (i.e., Studies 2-4) methods. Study 1 examined 100 5- to 12-year-olds’ trial testimony in child sexual abuse cases, and found that potentially ambiguous use of ask and tell was common, typically found in yes/no questions that elicited unelaborated answers, and virtually never clarified by attorneys or child witnesses. Studies 2-4 ...


The Effects Of Promising To Tell The Truth, The Putative Confession, And Recall And Recognition Questions On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children's Disclosure Of A Minor Transgression, Jodi A. Quas, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon Nov 2017

The Effects Of Promising To Tell The Truth, The Putative Confession, And Recall And Recognition Questions On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children's Disclosure Of A Minor Transgression, Jodi A. Quas, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This study examined the utility of two interview instructions designed to overcome children’s reluctance to disclose transgressions: eliciting a promise from children to tell the truth and the putative confession (telling children that a suspect “told me everything that happened and wants you to tell the truth”). The key questions were whether the instructions increased disclosure in response to recall questions and in response to recognition questions that were less or more explicit about transgressions, and whether instructions were differentially effective with age. Two-hundred and seventeen 4- to 9-year-old maltreated and comparable non-maltreated children played with a stranger. This ...


19. Child Witnesses., Thomas D. Lyon, Kelly Mcwilliams, Shanna Williams Nov 2017

19. Child Witnesses., Thomas D. Lyon, Kelly Mcwilliams, Shanna Williams

Thomas D. Lyon

In this chapter we provide an overview of psychological issues involving children’s capacities as witnesses. First, we discuss the kinds of cases in which children are usually involved. Across different courts, one most often sees children describing abuse at the hands of familiar adults. Second, we describe the difficulties children encounter in disclosing abuse, particularly when it is perpetrated by adults close to them. These dynamics lead most children to remain silent, and only the most forthcoming children to disclose. Third, we suggest a framework for assessing children’s allegations, in which child-generated and adult-generated information lie on opposite ...


The Relation Between Young Children's False Response Latency, Executive Functioning, And Truth-Lie Understanding, Shanna Williams, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Thomas D. Lyon Nov 2017

The Relation Between Young Children's False Response Latency, Executive Functioning, And Truth-Lie Understanding, Shanna Williams, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This study examined relations between children’s false statements and response latency, executive functioning, and truth-lie understanding in order to understand what underlies children’s emerging ability to make false statements. A total of 158 (2- to 5- year-old) children earned prizes for claiming that they were looking at birds even when presented with images of fish. Children were asked recall (“what do you have?”), recognition (“do you have a bird/fish?”), and outcome (“did you win/lose?”) questions. Response latencies were greater when children were presented with fish pictures than bird pictures, particularly when they were asked recall questions ...