Effects of the Putative Confession Instruction on Perceptions of Children's True and False Statements

26 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2018 Last revised: 31 Oct 2018

See all articles by Jennifer Gongola

Jennifer Gongola

University of California, Irvine

Nicholas Scurich

University of California, Irvine

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Gould School of Law; University of Southern California - Department of Psychology

Date Written: October 17, 2018

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Gongola, Jennifer and Scurich, Nicholas and Lyon, Thomas D., Effects of the Putative Confession Instruction on Perceptions of Children's True and False Statements (October 17, 2018). Forthcoming in Applied Cognitive Psychology; USC CLASS Research Paper No. CLASS18-27; USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 18-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3268296

Jennifer Gongola (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Nicholas Scurich

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

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)

University of Southern California - Department of Psychology ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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