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48. Valence, implicated actor, and children's acquiescence to false suggestions
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (Published 2016) (2015)
  • Kyndra C Cleveland, University of California, Irvine
  • Jodi A. Quas, University of California, Irvine
  • Thomas D. Lyon
Although adverse effects of suggestive interviewing on children's accuracy are well documented, it remains unclear as to whether these effects vary depending on the valence of and the actor implicated in suggestions. In this study, 124 3-8-year-olds participated in a classroom activity and were later questioned about positive and negative false details. The interviewer provided positive reinforcement when children acquiesced to suggestions and negative feedback when they did not. Following reinforcement or feedback, young children were comparably suggestible for positive and negative details. With age, resistance to suggestions about negative details merged first, followed by resistance to suggestions about positive details. Across age, more negative feedback was required to induce acquiescence to negative than positive false details. Finally, children were less willing to acquiesce when they (versus the confederate) were implicated. Findings highlight the interactive effects of valence and children's age on their eyewitness performance in suggestive contexts.

  • false suggestions,
  • child abuse,
  • child neglect,
  • child testimony,
  • child witness,
  • child sexual abuse
Publication Date
December 14, 2015
Citation Information
Cleveland, K.C., Quas, J.A., & Lyon, T.D. (2016). Valence, Implicated Actor, and Children’s Acquiescence to False Suggestions. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 43, 1-7.