Effects of the Putative Confession Instruction on Perceptions of Children's True and False Statements
In 33 Applied Cognitive Psychology 655-661 (2019)
26 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2018 Last revised: 18 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 16, 2019
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 were rated as equally credible, and there was a decrease in accuracy for identifying false denials as lies. These findings suggest that participants viewed the PC instruction as truth-inducing. Implications for the forensic use of the PC instruction are discussed.
Keywords: putative confession, deception detection, child credibility, interviewing children
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