Committee Chair

Warren, Amye

Committee Member

Ferrier, David E.; Ozbek, Irene Nichols, 1947-

Department

Dept. of Psychology

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Abstract

Attorneys questioning child witnesses often ask complex questions that negatively impact children’s accuracy and consistency. Research has shown that instructing children to answer confusing questions with “I don’t know” can improve their accuracy, but little research has examined the impact of using this strategy on jurors’ perceptions of child witness credibility. The present study assessed 702 mock jurors’ perceptions of a 4- or 10-year-old child witness in a fabricated sexual assault trial transcript. Number of “don’t know” responses were manipulated, and half the jurors were told about the “I don’t know” instruction. Results demonstrated that greater numbers of “I don’t know” answers during questioning negatively impacted mock jurors’ perceptions of children’s honesty and cognitive ability, but making jurors aware of the “I don’t know” instruction mitigated some of these negative effects. Findings from this study can be used to further inform legal and forensic strategies to protect child witnesses.

Degree

M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.

Date

8-2020

Subject

Child sexual abuse; Child witnesses; Cross-examination

Keyword

child credibility; child sexual assault; child witnesses; cross examination; ground rules

Document Type

Masters theses

DCMI Type

Text

Extent

ix, 107 leaves

Language

English

Rights

http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/

License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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