Adults' Difficulties in Identifying Concealment Among Children Interviewed with the Putative Confession Instructions


In press, Applied Cognitive Psychology.


The putative confession (PC) instructions (“[suspect] told me everything that happened and wants you to tell the truth”) increases children’s honesty. However, research has shown that children who maintain secrecy despite the PC are more convincing. We examined whether (a) the PC undermines adults’ deception detection abilities or (b) children who conceal despite the PC are better deceivers. Adults evaluated truthful and deceptive children interviewed with the PC where the PC portion of the interview was either present or absent. Adults’ deception detection was no worse when the PC was present; in fact, it was slightly better. Rather than negatively affecting adults’ ability to detect deception, the PC selects an unusually convincing group of concealers.


Child Psychology | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Developmental Psychology | Evidence | Family Law | Juvenile Law | Law | Law and Psychology

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