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Full-Text Articles in Evidence

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


61. The Relation Between Young Children’S False Statements And Response Latency, Executive Functioning, And Truth–Lie Understanding., Shanna Williams, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Thomas D. Lyon Nov 2017

61. The Relation Between Young Children’S False Statements And Response Latency, Executive Functioning, And Truth–Lie Understanding., Shanna Williams, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

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, and ...


60. 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

60. 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

Thomas D. Lyon

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 ...


59. Ask Versus Tell: Potential Confusion When Child Witnesses Are Questioned About Conversations, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon May 2017

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

Thomas D. Lyon

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 ...


58. The Effects Of Secret Instructions And Yes/No Questions On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children’S Reports Of A Minor Transgression., Elizabeth C. Ahern, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon Jan 2017

58. The Effects Of Secret Instructions And Yes/No Questions On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children’S Reports Of A Minor Transgression., Elizabeth C. Ahern, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

This study examined the effects of secret instructions (distinguishing between good/bad secrets and encouraging disclosure of bad secrets) and yes/no questions (DID: “Did the toy break?” versus DYR: “Do you remember if the toy broke?”) on 262 4- to 9- year old maltreated and nonmaltreated children’s reports of a minor transgression. Over two-thirds of children failed to disclose the transgression in response to free recall (invitations and cued invitations). The secret instruction increased disclosures early in free recall, but was not superior to no instruction when combined with cued invitations. Yes/no questions specifically asking about the ...


18. When Interviewing Children: A Review And Update., Karen J. Saywitz, Thomas D. Lyon, Gail S. Goodman Jan 2017

18. When Interviewing Children: A Review And Update., Karen J. Saywitz, Thomas D. Lyon, Gail S. Goodman

Thomas D. Lyon

In this chapter, we highlight principles for interviewing children based on the best available science, understanding that such principles keep changing as new evidence accumulates and that gaps exist in the knowledge base where guidance is limited. Interviewers will need to stay abreast of new developments. First, we briefly describe the data base from which the tools derive--studies conducted in the laboratory and in the field. Then we discuss evidence-based interview tools and features of the interview about which there is sufficient empirical evidence and consensus to derive “toolboxes.” We discuss interview structure, setting, children’s reluctance and suggestibility, rapport ...


57. Spatial Language, Question Type, And Young Children’S Ability To Describe Clothing: Legal And Developmental Implications., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon Dec 2016

57. Spatial Language, Question Type, And Young Children’S Ability To Describe Clothing: Legal And Developmental Implications., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Children’s descriptions of clothing placement and touching with respect to clothing are central to assessing child sexual abuse allegations. This study examined children’s ability to answer the types of questions attorneys and interviewers typically ask about clothing, using the most common spatial terms (on/off, outside/inside, over/under). Ninety-seven 3- to 6-year-olds were asked yes/no (e.g. “Is the shirt on?”), forced-choice (e.g., “Is the shirt on or off?”), open-choice (e.g., “Is the shirt on or off or something else?”), or where questions (e.g., “Where is the shirt?”) about clothing using a human ...


56. Pragmatic Failure And Referential Ambiguity When Attorneys Ask Child Witnesses “Do You Know/Remember” Questions., Angela D. Evans, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon Dec 2016

56. Pragmatic Failure And Referential Ambiguity When Attorneys Ask Child Witnesses “Do You Know/Remember” Questions., Angela D. Evans, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

“Do you know” and “Do you remember” (DYK/R) questions explicitly ask whether one knows or remembers some information while implicitly asking for that information. This study examined how 104 4- to 9-year-old children testifying in child sexual abuse cases responded to DYK/R wh- and yes/no questions. When asked DYK/R questions containing an implicit wh- question requesting information, children often provided unelaborated “Yes” responses. Attorneys’ follow-up questions suggested that children usually misunderstood the pragmatics of the questions. When DYK/R questions contained an implicit yes/no question, unelaborated “Yes” or “No” responses could be responding to the ...


55. Challenging The Credibility Of Alleged Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse In Scottish Courts., Zsófia Szojka, Samantha J. Andrews, Michael E. Lamb, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon Nov 2016

55. Challenging The Credibility Of Alleged Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse In Scottish Courts., Zsófia Szojka, Samantha J. Andrews, Michael E. Lamb, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

This study examined the effects of credibility-challenging questions (n = 2,729) on 62 5- to 17-year-olds’ testimony in child sexual abuse cases in Scotland by categorizing the type, source, and content of the credibility-challenging questions defence lawyers asked and assessing how children responded. Credibility-challenging questions comprised 14.9% of all questions asked during cross-examination. Of defence lawyers’ credibility-challenging questions, 77.8% focused generally on children’s honesty, whereas the remainder referred to specific inconsistencies in the children’s testimony. Children resisted credibility challenges 54% of the time, significantly more often than they provided compliant responses (26.8%). The tendency to ...


54. The Effects Of The Hypothetical Putative Confession And Negatively-Valenced Yes/No Questions On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children’S Disclosure Of A Minor Transgression., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon Sep 2016

54. The Effects Of The Hypothetical Putative Confession And Negatively-Valenced Yes/No Questions On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children’S Disclosure Of A Minor Transgression., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

This study examined the effects of the hypothetical putative confession (telling children “What if I said that [the suspect] told me everything that happened and he wants you to tell the truth?”) and negatively-valenced yes/no questions varying in their explicitness (“Did [toy] break?” vs. “Did something bad happen to the [toy]?”) on 206 4- to 9-year-old maltreated and non-maltreated children’s reports, half of whom had experienced toy breakage and had been admonished to keep the breakage a secret. The hypothetical putative confession increased the likelihood that children disclosed breakage without increasing false reports. The yes/no questions elicited ...


17. Investigative Interviewing Of The Child., Thomas D. Lyon Aug 2016

17. Investigative Interviewing Of The Child., Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

This chapter reviews best practice interviewing for legal practitioners and others who work with children.


53. Relations Between Attorney Temporal Structure And Children's Response Productivity In Cases Of Alleged Child Sexual Abuse., J. Zoe Klemfuss, Kyndra C. Cleveland, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas Jul 2016

53. Relations Between Attorney Temporal Structure And Children's Response Productivity In Cases Of Alleged Child Sexual Abuse., J. Zoe Klemfuss, Kyndra C. Cleveland, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas

Thomas D. Lyon

Purpose. Previous research has demonstrated that attorney question format relates to child witness’ response productivity. However, little work has examined the extent to which attorneys provide temporal structure in their questions, and the effects of this structure on children’s responding. The purpose of this study was to address this gap in the literature to identify methods by which attorneys increase children’s response productivity on the stand without risking objections from opposing counsel for ‘calling for narrative answers.

Methods. In this study, we coded criminal court transcripts involving child witnesses (5–18 years) for narrative structure in attorney questions ...


52. Familial Influences On Recantation In Substantiated Child Sexual Abuse Cases., Lindsay C. Malloy, Allison P. Mugno, Jillian R. Rivard, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon Apr 2016

52. Familial Influences On Recantation In Substantiated Child Sexual Abuse Cases., Lindsay C. Malloy, Allison P. Mugno, Jillian R. Rivard, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

The underlying reasons for recantation in children’s disclosure of child sexual abuse (CSA) have been debated in recent years. In the present study, we examined the largest sample of substantiated CSA cases involving recantations to date (n = 58 cases). We specifically matched those cases to 58 non-recanters on key variables found to predict recantation in prior research (i.e., child age, alleged parent figure perpetrator, caregiver unsupportiveness). Bivariate analyses revealed that children were less likely to recant when they were (1) initially removed from home post-disclosure, and (2) initially separated from siblings post-disclosure. Multivariate analyses revealed that children were ...


51. Maltreated Children’S Ability To Make Temporal Judgments Using A Recurring Landmark Event., Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas Apr 2016

51. Maltreated Children’S Ability To Make Temporal Judgments Using A Recurring Landmark Event., Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas

Thomas D. Lyon

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 ...


50. “Where Were Your Clothes?” Eliciting Descriptions Of Clothing Placement From Children Alleging Sexual Abuse In Criminal Trials And Forensic Interviews., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon Feb 2016

50. “Where Were Your Clothes?” Eliciting Descriptions Of Clothing Placement From Children Alleging Sexual Abuse In Criminal Trials And Forensic Interviews., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Purpose: The present study examined how children alleging sexual abuse are asked about clothing placement during abusive episodes, both in criminal trials and forensic interviews. The placement of clothing is of great importance, because it facilitates distinguishing abusive touch from non-abusive touch, as well as the severity of abuse when the touching is in fact sexual. If clothing has not been removed, then sexual abuse appears less likely and certain types of sexual contact are physically impossible (or at least highly improbable). Methods: We examined how trial attorneys (n = 142) and forensic interviewers in investigative interviews (n = 155) questioned 5- ...


49. Attorney Questions Predict Jury-Eligible Adult Assessments Of Attorneys, Child Witnesses, And Defendant Guilt., Allison P. Mugno, J. Zoe Klemfuss, Thomas D. Lyon Feb 2016

49. Attorney Questions Predict Jury-Eligible Adult Assessments Of Attorneys, Child Witnesses, And Defendant Guilt., Allison P. Mugno, J. Zoe Klemfuss, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Children are often the primary source of evidence in maltreatment cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse, and may be asked to testify in court. Although best-practice protocols for interviewing children suggest that interviewers ask open-ended questions to elicit detailed responses from children, during in-court testimony, attorneys tend to rely on closed-ended questions that elicit simple (often "yes" or "no") responses (e.g., Andrews, Lamb, & Lyon, 2015; Klemfuss, Quas, & Lyon, 2014). How then are jurors making decisions about children’s credibility and ultimately the case outcome? The present study examined the effect of two attorney-specific factors (e.g., temporal structure ...


47. The Productivity Of Wh- Prompts When Children Testify., Samantha J. Andrews, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon Jan 2016

47. The Productivity Of Wh- Prompts When Children Testify., Samantha J. Andrews, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Wh- prompts (what, how, why, who, when, where) vary widely in their specificity and accuracy, but differences among them have largely been ignored in research examining the productivity of different question-types in child testimony. We examined 120 6- to 12-year-olds’ criminal court testimony in child sexual abuse cases to compare the productivity of various wh- prompts. We distinguished among what/how prompts, most notably: what/how-happen prompts focusing generally on events, what/how-dynamic prompts focusing on actions or unfolding processes/events, what/how-causality prompts focusing on causes and reasons, and what/how-static prompts focusing on non-action contextual information regarding location ...


48. Valence, Implicated Actor, And Children's Acquiescence To False Suggestions, Kyndra C. Cleveland, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon Dec 2015

48. Valence, Implicated Actor, And Children's Acquiescence To False Suggestions, Kyndra C. Cleveland, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Although adverse effects of suggestive interviewing on children's accuracy are well documented, it remains unclear as to whether these effects vary depending on the valence of and the actor implicated in suggestions. In this study, 124 3-8-year-olds participated in a classroom activity and were later questioned about positive and negative false details. The interviewer provided positive reinforcement when children acquiesced to suggestions and negative feedback when they did not. Following reinforcement or feedback, young children were comparably suggestible for positive and negative details. With age, resistance to suggestions about negative details merged first, followed by resistance to suggestions about ...


46. Wrongful Acquittals Of Sexual Abuse., Thomas D. Lyon, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams Nov 2015

46. Wrongful Acquittals Of Sexual Abuse., Thomas D. Lyon, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kelly Mcwilliams

Thomas D. Lyon

Ross Cheit’s book The Witch-Hunt Narrative highlights the difficulties of prosecuting child sexual abuse. Drawing examples from a single case, Alex A., we examine the ways in which false acquittals of sexual abuse are likely to occur. First, prosecutors tend to question children in ways that undermine their productivity and credibility. Second, prosecutors have difficulty in explaining to juries the dynamics of sexual abuse and disclosure, making children’s acquiescence to abuse and their failure to disclose when abuse first occurs incredible. Third, attorneys undermine children’s credibility by pushing them to provide difficult to estimate temporal and numerical ...