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Full-Text Articles in Evidence

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


5. American Professional Society On The Abuse Of Children In Support Of Petitioner, Ohio V. Clark (Merits), Thomas D. Lyon Oct 2014

5. American Professional Society On The Abuse Of Children In Support Of Petitioner, Ohio V. Clark (Merits), Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

No abstract provided.


40. Question Types, Responsiveness And Self-Contradictions When Prosecutors And Defense Attorneys Question Alleged Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse, Samantha J. Andrews, Michael E. Lamb, Thomas D. Lyon Oct 2014

40. Question Types, Responsiveness And Self-Contradictions When Prosecutors And Defense Attorneys Question Alleged Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse, Samantha J. Andrews, Michael E. Lamb, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

We examined 120 trial transcripts of 6- to 12-year-old children testifying to sexual abuse. Age and attorney role were analyzed in relation to question types, children’s responsiveness, and self-contradiction frequency. A total of 48,716 question-response pairs were identified. Attorneys used more closed-ended than open-ended prompts. Prosecutors used more invitations (3% vs. 0%), directives and option-posing prompts than defence attorneys, who used more suggestive prompts than prosecutors. Children were more unresponsive to defence attorneys than to prosecutors. Self-contradictions were identified in 95% of the cases. Defence attorneys elicited more self-contradictions than prosecutors, but nearly all prosecutors (86%) elicited at ...


39. Young Children’S Difficulty With Indirect Speech Acts: Implications For Questioning Child Witnesses, Angela D. Evans, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kang Lee, Thomas D. Lyon Oct 2014

39. Young Children’S Difficulty With Indirect Speech Acts: Implications For Questioning Child Witnesses, Angela D. Evans, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Kang Lee, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Prior research suggests that infelicitous choice of questions can significantly underestimate children’s actual abilities, independently of suggestiveness. One possibly difficult question type is indirect speech acts such as “Do you know…” questions (DYK, e.g., “Do you know where it happened?”). These questions directly ask if respondents know, while indirectly asking what respondents know. If respondents answer “yes,” but fail to elaborate, they are either ignoring or failing to recognize the indirect question (known as pragmatic failure). Two studies examined the effect of indirect speech acts on maltreated and non-maltreated 2- to 7-year-olds’ post-event interview responses. Children were read ...


38. Social And Cognitive Factors Associated With Children's Secret-Keeping For A Parent., Heidi M. Gordon, Thomas D. Lyon, Kang Lee Jul 2014

38. Social And Cognitive Factors Associated With Children's Secret-Keeping For A Parent., Heidi M. Gordon, Thomas D. Lyon, Kang Lee

Thomas D. Lyon

This study examined children’s secret-keeping for a parent and its relation to trust, theory of mind, secrecy endorsement, and executive functioning (EF). Children (N = 107) between 4 and 12 years of age participated in a procedure wherein parents broke a toy and asked children to promise secrecy. Responses to open-ended and direct questions were examined. Overall, secret-keeping increased with age and promising to keep the secret was related to fewer disclosures in open-ended questioning. Children who kept the secret in direct questioning exhibited greater trust and better parental ratings of EF than children who disclosed the secret. Findings highlight ...


37. Attorneys' Questions And Children's Productivity In Child Sexual Abuse Criminal Trials., J. Zoe Klemfuss, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon May 2014

37. Attorneys' Questions And Children's Productivity In Child Sexual Abuse Criminal Trials., J. Zoe Klemfuss, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

We investigated the links between questions child witnesses are asked in court, children’s answers, and case outcome. Samples of acquittals and convictions were matched on child age, victim–defendant relationship, and allegation count and severity. Transcripts were coded for question types, including a previously under-examined type of potentially suggestive question, declarative questions. Children’s productivity was conceptualized in a novel way by separating new from repeated content and by adjusting the definition based on the linguistic demands of the questions. Attorneys frequently used declarative questions, and disconcertingly, attorneys who used these and other suggestive questions more frequently were more ...


36. Evidence Summarized In Attorneys' Closing Arguments Predicts Acquittals In Criminal Trials Of Child Sexual Abuse., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon May 2014

36. Evidence Summarized In Attorneys' Closing Arguments Predicts Acquittals In Criminal Trials Of Child Sexual Abuse., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Evidence summarized in attorney’s closing arguments of criminal child sexual abuse cases (N = 189) was coded to predict acquittal rates. Ten variables were significant bivariate predictors; five variables significant at p < .01 were entered into a multivariate model. Cases were likely to result in an acquittal when the defendant was not charged with force, the child maintained contact with the defendant after the abuse occurred, or the defense presented a hearsay witness regarding the victim’s statements, a witness regarding the victim’s character, or a witness regarding another witnesses’ character (usually the mother). The findings suggest that jurors ...


35. Interviewing Children., Thomas D. Lyon May 2014

35. Interviewing Children., Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

This article reviews best practice for interviewing child witnesses. In most officially recognized abuse cases, the child previously disclosed abuse, making it possible to elicit disclosures without asking closed-ended questions. Interviewers nevertheless overuse closed-ended questions, which lead to short unelaborated responses, privilege the limited perspective of the interviewer, maximize the potential for linguistic difficulties, increase children’s tendency to guess, and risk response biases. Interviewers can avoid closed-ended questions through narrative practice, in which interviewers ask children to narrate a recent innocuous event before introducing the abuse topic; cued invitations, in which interviewers repeat details reported by children and ask ...


33. Disclosing Adult Wrongdoing: Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children’S Expectations And Preferences., Lindsay C. Malloy, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon, Elizabeth C. Ahern Jan 2014

33. Disclosing Adult Wrongdoing: Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children’S Expectations And Preferences., Lindsay C. Malloy, Jodi A. Quas, Thomas D. Lyon, Elizabeth C. Ahern

Thomas D. Lyon

Little is known about the process by which children disclose adult wrongdoing, a topic of considerable debate and controversy. In the current study, we investigated children’s evaluations of disclosing adult wrongdoing by focusing on children’s preferences for particular disclosure recipients and perceptions of the consequences of disclosure in hypothetical vignettes. We tested whether children thought that disclosure recipients would believe a story child as a truth teller and what actions the recipients would take against the ‘‘instigator’’ who committed the transgression. Maltreated and non-maltreated 4- to 9-year-olds (N = 235) responded to questions about vignettes that described a parent ...


12. Interviewing Victims And Suspected Victims Who Are Reluctant To Talk., Irit Irit Hershkowitz, Michael E. Lamb, Thomas D. Lyon Nov 2013

12. Interviewing Victims And Suspected Victims Who Are Reluctant To Talk., Irit Irit Hershkowitz, Michael E. Lamb, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Most professionals know that many alleged victims do not disclose abuse when formally interviewed and that disclosure is affected by a variety of factors, among which the relationship between suspects and children appears to be especially important (see Pipe, Lamb, Orbach, & Cederborg, 2007, for reviews). Children––especially boys and preschoolers––are hesitant to report abuse by parents and guardians, particularly when sexual rather than physical abuse is suspected. For example, Pipe, Lamb, Orbach, Stewart, Sternberg, and Esplin (2007) reported that only 38% of the preschoolers interviewed disclosed sexual abuse by a parent even when the allegations were independently substantiated by ...


32. Eliciting Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children’S Transgression Disclosures: Narrative Practice Rapport Building And A Putative Confession., Thomas D. Lyon, Lindsay Wandrey, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Robyn Licht, Megan P.Y. Sim, Jodi A. Quas Oct 2013

32. Eliciting Maltreated And Non-Maltreated Children’S Transgression Disclosures: Narrative Practice Rapport Building And A Putative Confession., Thomas D. Lyon, Lindsay Wandrey, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Robyn Licht, Megan P.Y. Sim, Jodi A. Quas

Thomas D. Lyon

This study tested the effects of narrative practice rapport building (asking open-ended questions about a neutral event) and a putative confession (telling the child an adult “told me everything that happened and he wants you to tell the truth”) on 4- to 9-year-old maltreated and nonmaltreated children’s reports of an interaction with a stranger who asked them to keep toy breakage a secret (n = 264). Only one third of children who received no interview manipulations disclosed breakage; in response to a putative confession, one half disclosed. Narrative practice rapport building did not affect the likelihood of disclosure. Maltreated children ...


31. How Attorneys Question Children About The Dynamics Of Sexual Abuse And Disclosure In Criminal Trials., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon Sep 2013

31. How Attorneys Question Children About The Dynamics Of Sexual Abuse And Disclosure In Criminal Trials., Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Little is known about how the dynamics of sexual abuse and disclosure are discussed in criminal court. We examined how attorneys ask child witnesses in sexual abuse cases (N #1; 72, 6–16 years of age) about their prior conversations, both with suspects and with disclosure recipients. Prosecutors’ questions were more open-ended than defense attorneys, but most questions asked by either attorney were yes/no questions, and children tended to provide unelaborated responses. Prosecutors were more inclined to ask about children’s prior conversations with suspects than defense attorneys, but focused on the immediate abuse rather than on grooming behavior ...


29. Young Children’S Understanding That Promising Guarantees Performance: The Effects Of Age And Maltreatment., Thomas D. Lyon, Angela D. Evans Jul 2013

29. Young Children’S Understanding That Promising Guarantees Performance: The Effects Of Age And Maltreatment., Thomas D. Lyon, Angela D. Evans

Thomas D. Lyon

Two studies, with 102 nonmaltreated 3- to 6-year-old children and 96 maltreated 4- to 7-year-old children, examined children’s understanding of the relative strengths of “I promise,” “I will,” “I might,” and “I won’t,” to determine the most age-appropriate means of eliciting a promise to tell the truth from child witnesses. Children played a game in which they chose which of 2 boxes would contain a toy after hearing story characters make conflicting statements about their intent to place a toy in each box (e.g., one character said “I will put a toy in my box” and the ...


16. Child Witnesses And Imagination: Lying, Hypothetical Reasoning, And Referential Ambiguity., Thomas D. Lyon Jul 2013

16. Child Witnesses And Imagination: Lying, Hypothetical Reasoning, And Referential Ambiguity., Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Children's resistance to unpleasant hypotheticals undermines their apparent understanding of the truth and lies. Better understanding of children's developmental limitations, improved questioning, and objections to developmentally insensitive questions could improve children's performance.


8. Child Witnesses And The Confrontation Clause., Thomas D. Lyon, Julia A. Dente Apr 2012

8. Child Witnesses And The Confrontation Clause., Thomas D. Lyon, Julia A. Dente

Thomas D. Lyon

After the Supreme Court’s ruling in Crawford v. Washington that a criminal defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him is violated by the admission of testimonial hearsay that has not been cross-examined, lower courts have overturned convictions in which hearsay from children was admitted after child witnesses were either unwilling or unable to testify. A review of social scientific evidence regarding the dynamics of child sexual abuse suggests a means for facilitating the fair receipt of children’s evidence. Courts should hold that defendants have forfeited their confrontation rights if they exploited a child’s vulnerabilities such ...


26. “How Did You Feel?”: Increasing Child Sexual Abuse Witnesses’ Production Of Evaluative Information., Thomas D. Lyon, Nicholas Scurich, Karen Choi, Sally Handmaker, Rebecca Blank Dec 2011

26. “How Did You Feel?”: Increasing Child Sexual Abuse Witnesses’ Production Of Evaluative Information., Thomas D. Lyon, Nicholas Scurich, Karen Choi, Sally Handmaker, Rebecca Blank

Thomas D. Lyon

In child sexual abuse cases, the victim’s testimony is essential, because the victim and the perpetrator tend to be the only eyewitnesses to the crime. A potentially important component of an abuse report is the child’s subjective reactions to the abuse. Attorneys may ask suggestive questions or avoid questioning children about their reactions, assuming that children, given their immaturity and reluctance, are incapable of articulation. We hypothesized that How questions referencing reactions to abuse (e.g., “howdid you feel”) would increase the productivity of children’s descriptions of abuse reactions. Two studiescompared the extent to which children provided ...


25. Maltreated Children’S Ability To Estimate Temporal Location And Numerosity Of Placement Changes And Court Visits., Lindsay Wandrey, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas, William J. Friedman Sep 2011

25. Maltreated Children’S Ability To Estimate Temporal Location And Numerosity Of Placement Changes And Court Visits., Lindsay Wandrey, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas, William J. Friedman

Thomas D. Lyon

Research examining children’s temporal knowledge has tended to utilize brief temporal intervals and singular, neutral events, and is not readily generalizable to legal settings in which maltreated children are asked temporal questions about salient, repeated abuse that often occurred in the distant past. To understand how well maltreated children can describe temporal location and numerosity of documented, personal experiences, we assessed 167 6- to 10-year-old maltreated children’s temporal memory for changes in their living arrangements and prior visits to court. Small percentages of children were capable of providing exact temporal location information (age, month, or season) regarding their ...


24. Interviewing Children Versus Tossing Coins: Accurately Assessing The Diagnosticity Of Children’S Disclosures Of Abuse., Thomas D. Lyon, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Nicholas Scurich Jul 2011

24. Interviewing Children Versus Tossing Coins: Accurately Assessing The Diagnosticity Of Children’S Disclosures Of Abuse., Thomas D. Lyon, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Nicholas Scurich

Thomas D. Lyon

We describe a Bayesian approach to evaluating children’s abuse disclosures and review research demonstrating that children’s disclosure of genital touch can be highly probative of sexual abuse, with the probative value depending on disclosure spontaneity and children’s age. We discuss how some commentators understate the probative value of children’s disclosures by: confusing the probability of abuse given disclosure with the probability of disclosure given abuse, assuming that children formally questioned about sexual abuse have a low prior probability of sexual abuse, misstating the probative value of abuse disclosure, and confusing the distinction between disclosure and nondisclosure ...


15. Assessing The Competency Of Child Witnesses: Best Practice Informed By Psychology And Law., Thomas D. Lyon Jun 2011

15. Assessing The Competency Of Child Witnesses: Best Practice Informed By Psychology And Law., Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

Truth-lie competency, which concerns the child's understanding of the difference between truth and lies and the importance of telling the truth, can be demonstrated by asking the child whether simple statements are the truth, and by asking the child to promise to tell the truth. Tests of children's truth-lie competency do not predict honesty, but eliciting a child's promise to tell the truth does increase honesty.


23. Assessing Children’S Competency To Take The Oath In Court: The Influence Of Question Type On Children’S Accuracy., Angela D. Evans, Thomas D. Lyon Dec 2010

23. Assessing Children’S Competency To Take The Oath In Court: The Influence Of Question Type On Children’S Accuracy., Angela D. Evans, Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

This study examined children’s accuracy in response to truth–lie competency questions asked in court.The participants included 164 child witnesses in criminal child sexual abuse cases tried in Los AngelesCounty over a 5-year period (1997–2001) and 154 child witnesses quoted in the U.S. state and federalappellate cases over a 35-year period (1974 –2008). The results revealed that judges virtually never foundchildren incompetent to testify, but children exhibited substantial variability in their performance based on question-type. Definition questions, about the meaning of the truth and lies, were the most difficultlargely due to errors in response to “Do ...


22. Young Children’S Emerging Ability To Make False Statements., Thomas D. Lyon, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Jodi A. Quas Apr 2010

22. Young Children’S Emerging Ability To Make False Statements., Thomas D. Lyon, Elizabeth C. Ahern, Jodi A. Quas

Thomas D. Lyon

This study examined the origins of children’s ability to make consciously false statements, a necessary component of lying. Children 2 to 5 years of age were rewarded for claiming that they saw a picture of a bird when viewing pictures of fish. They were asked outcome questions (“Do you win/lose?”), recognition questions (“Do you have a bird/fish?”), and recall questions (“What do you have?”), which were hypothesized to vary in difficulty depending on the need for consciousness of falsity (less for outcome questions) and self-generation of an appropriate response (more for recall questions). The youngest children (21 ...