Children's Reliablity in Court Essay

2180 Words Nov 10th, 2015 9 Pages
Sarah Whitney November 11, 2015
Critical Thinking Paper Dr. Nancy Furlong

A current question that has been frequently asked is whether eyewitness reports provided by children during a court case are reliable. Children's memory capacity, their susceptibility to suggestion, and the delay between a crime and providing an eyewitness statement are some factors that can influence the reliability of these reports. Eyewitness reports provided by children can be reliable if given within a reasonable time frame, and that the presented questions are not suggestive.
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Lastly, children appear to be suggestible, although younger children, five to eight years old, more so than older children, nine to twelve year olds.
As mentioned previously, children are able to provide an accurate report when asked to freely recall a particular event, although younger children tend to report less detail than older children, which is problematic when serving as an eyewitness in court. Pipe and Wilson (1994) examined whether or not the memory capacity of children can be enhanced when providing more detail in their statements by using cues. The recruited children, six and ten year olds, had an interaction with a magician, after which they were interviewed twice regarding this interaction after 10 days and after 10 weeks. The children were placed in one of four conditions. One with no cues where the interview room not the same as magic show room. Contextual cues, interview room the same as magic show room. Relevant cues where items used by magician and contextual cues were present, and last irrelevant cues where magic trick items similar to those used by the magician, and contextual and relevant cues were present. It appeared that all children reported more accurate information after a short delay than after a long delay. However, younger children reported less accurate information than the older children. All children reported more information when the relevant cues were present than when they were

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