Does Practice Make Perfect? Judging the Truthfulness of Child and Adult Stories

Russell-Young, Makiyah (2017) Does Practice Make Perfect? Judging the Truthfulness of Child and Adult Stories. Bachelor's thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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A person’s ability to detect whether another individual is lying or telling the truth is commonly at chance levels (~50%). In the present study, a total of 206 people from the general public judged the veracity of a story about witnessing a video of potential child abduction. Stories were told by an adult or a child and were presented to participants across three mediums (transcript, audio, audio-video) via an online survey. Overall accuracy rates were not significantly different from chance (52.9%). The accuracy for identifying a child’s false and an adult’s true story also stayed at chance levels (46.7% and 41.6% respectively), while accuracy for identifying a child’s true story was significantly above chance (58.9%). When participants’ recognition of CBCA criteria throughout these stories was assessed, findings showed that participants applied various elements of the CBCA in an incorrect way, perhaps attributing to their low accuracy when deciding the truthfulness of a story told by a child or adult. Only performing at chance levels when identifying a lie told by a child or a truth by an adult is particularly disturbing when it is possible that any participant in this study could be summoned to be a jury member. These results illustrate that decisions made when judging the veracity of children’s and adult’s stories could potentially contribute to wrongful convictions and wrongful dismissals. Future research should explore how to improve this accuracy

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's)
Item ID: 13096
Additional Information: “Includes bibliographical references (pages 30-34)”
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Arts and Social Science > Psychology
Date: 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Truthfulness and falsehood; Truthfulness and falsehood in children

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