Friday, February 7, 2020

Interview methods for children as eyewitnesses Essay

Interview methods for children as eyewitnesses - Essay Example The special circumstances under which children may be interviewed such that their testimony yields credible, admissible evidence requires special support in recent legal reforms. For this reason, advances in legislation in many countries have greatly improved the manner in which children are interviewed in court.1 This is because young children above the age of 5 are highly susceptible to suggestive influences that may affect the credibility of their testimony in court. Suggestibility of very young children Bruck, Ceci, Francoeur & Barr 2 studied the influence of postevent suggestion on children’s accounts of their visit to the doctor. After their DPT shots, children were given one of three types of feedback: (1) that the shot hurt (pain affirming); (2) that it did not hurt (pain denying); and (3) that the shot is over (neutral). One year after, the children were again visited, and were again given either pain denying or neutral feedback in three separate visits. They were als o given either misleading or non-misleading information about the actions of the nurse and doctor. Children given pain denying feedback reported that they did not cry or hardly at all, and said the shot did not hurt, or at least hurt less than the children who received neutral feedback. Also, children who were given misleading information about the actions of the nurse and doctor made more false allegations about their actions than children not given misleading information. ... The study showed that timing of the misinformation affected the memories of single and repeated events, depending on the combination of event-misinformation and misinformation-test delays rather than overall retention interval. In the study by Milne and Bull,4 and that of Holliday,5 the objective was to examine if the cognitive interview would enhance the recall of events when used with children, and whether the cognitive interview increased children’s resistance to suggestive questions. (The cognitive interview focuses on the cognitive processes respondents use to answer survey questions, and the interview is held in some private location such as a laboratory environment.6) In the experiment, eight to ten year old children were shown a video recording of a magic show. The following day they were interviewed individually, some using cognitive interview and some using structured interview. A pre-set list of leading or suggestive questions was given to the children either before or after the interview. The findings were that the children who were interviewed using the cognitive interview had a better and more accurate recall of significantly more details. They were also more resistant to suggestive questions subsequently asked. The study established that the cognitive interview was found to comprise a reliable interviewing technique that enhance recall and enables children to be more resistant to the influence of misleading and suggestive questions. There were implications in other studies. For instance, it was found that both true and false memories tended to increase with age, but did not differ for children who were maltreated as against those who were not.7 Also, suggestibility effects were

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