Coaching, Truth Induction, and Young Maltreated Children's False Allegations and False Denials

Child Development, Vol. 79, p. 914, 2008

USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 08-02

1 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2008 Last revised: 17 May 2009

See all articles by Thomas D. Lyon

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Lindsay Malloy

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Jodi Quas

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Victoria Talwar

McGill University

Date Written: May 14, 2009

Abstract

This study examined the effects of coaching (encouragement and rehearsal of false reports) and truth induction (a child-friendly version of the oath or general reassurance about the consequences of disclosure) on 4- to 7-year-old maltreated children's reports (N = 198). Children were questioned using free recall, repeated yes/no questions, and highly suggestive suppositional questions. Coaching impaired children's accuracy. For free recall and repeated yes/no questions, the oath exhibited some positive effects, but this effect diminished in the face of highly suggestive questions. Reassurance had few positive effects, and no ill-effects. Neither age nor understanding of the meaning and negative consequences of lying consistently predicted accuracy. The results support the utility of truth induction in enhancing the accuracy of child witnesses' reports.

Suggested Citation

Lyon, Thomas D. and Malloy, Lindsay and Quas, Jodi and Talwar, Victoria, Coaching, Truth Induction, and Young Maltreated Children's False Allegations and False Denials (May 14, 2009). Child Development, Vol. 79, p. 914, 2008; USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 08-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1081707

USC Law RPS Submitter (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-2551 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-0142 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

Lindsay Malloy

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society ( email )

2340 Social Ecology 2, RM
Irvine, CA 92697

Jodi Quas

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society ( email )

2340 Social Ecology 2, RM
Irvine, CA 92697

Victoria Talwar

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

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