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cotterill ben f. - are children reliable witnesses?

Are Children Reliable Witnesses?

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Lingua: Inglese
Pubblicazione: 09/2022
Edizione: 1st ed. 2022


"If a child falls victim to a crime, or becomes witness to it, they may well be questioned by the police. Perhaps even tasked with selecting a suspect from a line-up. But how reliable can a child be under such strenuous circumstances?

In this book, Dr. Ben Cotterill explores practices and influences that can increase or decrease the accuracy of children’s testimonies. Memory mechanisms and general developmental factors behind the capability of child witnesses are outlined, demonstrating their ability to describe or identify. Factors that affect jurors' perception of said children are also looked into in detail.

There have been many instances in which poor interviewing practices with children led to false imprisonments. Said occurrences demonstrate how both situational factors and individual differences can potentially compromise children’s eyewitness performance. Based upon what we now understand, can recommendations be made, so that, in a court of law, innocence is the key to achieving justice?


1 Introduction.

The Scope of Children in the Legal System.

An Introduction to the Book Chapters.

2 The Witch Hunts.

The Salem Witch Trials.

Day Care Sexual Abuse Panic.


Suggested Further Reading.

3 An Introduction to Suggestibility.

Case Study.


Historic Views of Suggestibility.


Modern Views of Suggestibility.

Source Monitoring.


Suggested Further Reading.

4 Memory Mechanisms and Developmental Factors of Suggestibility.


Externally Driven and Internally Driven False Memories.

Case Study.

Henry Otgaar’s Argument.

Age-Related Differences in Memory.

Knowledge Differences.

Language Differences.

Theory of Mind.

Own-Age Bias.

Social Influences.

Other Influences.

Children’s Ability to Lie.


Suggested Further Reading.

5 True Cases of Child Eyewitnesses.

Nevis Nursery Case.

Devil’s Dyke Rape Case.

Case of Jimmy Guard.

Poland Abduction Case.

Kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart.

Murder of Courtney Smith.

Disappearance of Maria Ridulph.


6 Children’s Describing and Identifying Capabilities.

Are Children Capable Witnesses?.

Everyday Conversations with Children.

Children Answering Nonsensical Questions.

Forensically Relevant Conversations with Children.

Accuracy of Child Eyewitnesses at Describing.

Accuracy of Child Eyewitnesses at Identifying.


Suggested Further Reading.

7 External Factors of Suggestibility.

Question Types.

Question Repetition.

Delay and Repeated Interviews.

Interviewer Bias.

Stereotype Induction.

Interviewer Status.

Emotional Tone.

Current Interviewing Formats.

Case Study.

Case Study: Analysis.


Suggested Further Reading.

8 Individual Differences Relating to Suggestibility.

Interview Extract One—Child A.

Interview Extract Two—Child B.



Socioeconomic Status.

Cognitive Factors.



Suggested Further Reading.

9 Juror Perceptions.

Case Study.

Case Study: Analysis.

Effects of Witness Age.

Effects of Interviewing Technique.

Effects of Witness Confidence and Shyness.

Juror Gender.

Juror Age.

Juror Personality.

Prosecution of Alleged Child Sexual Abuse.


Suggested Further Reading.

10 Conclusion.


Ben F. Cotterill, PhD, is a lecturer in psychology at Clemson University in South Carolina, USA. He completed his doctoral dissertation on how children's temperament relates to their eyewitness performance. Dr. Cotterill's research interests include personality development, the reliability and credibility of eyewitness testimony, and testing police procedures used with children.

Altre Informazioni



Condizione: Nuovo
Dimensioni: 210 x 148 mm Ø 360 gr
Formato: Copertina rigida
Illustration Notes:VIII, 163 p.
Pagine Arabe: 163
Pagine Romane: viii

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