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.
Child Psychology | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Developmental Psychology | Evidence | Family Law | Juvenile Law | Law | Law and Psychology
Date of this Version
Jennifer Gongola, Nicholas Scurich, and Thomas D. Lyon, "Effects of the Putative Confession Instruction on Perceptions of Children's True and False Statements" (July 2019). University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series. Working Paper 276.