CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Gongola et al. on Children Interviewed with the Putative Confession Instruction

Jennifer GongolaJodi QuasSteven E. Clark and Thomas D. Lyon (USC Gould School of Law, University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Psychology and University of Southern California Gould School of Law) have posted Adults' Difficulties in Identifying Concealment Among Children Interviewed with the Putative Confession Instructions (In press, Applied Cognitive Psychology) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
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.

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