Adults Usually Believe Young Children: The Influence of Eliciting Questions and Suggestibility Presentations on Perceptions of Children's Disclosures

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Do people realize the danger of asking misinformed children yes-no questions? Study 1 confirmed that disclosures children made during free recall in an earlier suggestibility study were more accurate than disclosures following “yes” responses to yes-no questions, which in turn were more accurate than disclosures following “no” responses. In Studies 2 and 3, college students watched interviews of children and judged the veracity of these three disclosure patterns. Participants generally believed false reports representing the first two patterns, although watching expert testimony that included a videotaped example of a false report reduced trust in prompted disclosures. Results document the need to inform forensic decision-makers about the circumstances associated with erroneous responses to yes-no questions.

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