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Measuring Children's Suggestibility in Forensic Interviews

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According to the scientific literature, childrens’ cognitive development is not complete until adolescence. Therefore, the problems inherent in children serving as witnesses are crucial. In preschool‐aged children, false memories may be identified because of misinformation and insight bias. Additionally, they are susceptible of suggestions. The aim of this study was to verify the levels of suggestibility in children between three and 5 years of age. Ninety‐two children were examined (44 male, 48 female; M = 4.5 years, SD = 9.62). We used the correlation coefficient (Pearson's r) and the averages variance by SPSS statistical program. The results concluded that: younger children are almost always more susceptible to suggestibility. The dimension of immediate recall was negatively correlates with that of total suggestibility (r = −0.357 p < 0.001). Social compliance and source monitoring errors contribute to patterns of suggestibility, because older children shift their answers more often (r = 0.394 p < 0.001). Younger children change their answers more times (r = −0.395 p < 0.001).
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Keywords: children; eyewitness; forensic interviewing; forensic science; suggestibility; the Bonn Test of Statement Suggestibility

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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