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Children's Live and Videotaped Testimonies: How Presentation Mode Affects Observers' Perception, Assessment and Memory

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume: 12 Issue: Part 2 Dated: September 2007 Pages: 333-347
Sara Landstrom; Par Anders Granhag; Maria Hartwig
Date Published
September 2007
15 pages
This study investigated how two different presentation modes (live vs. video) of children’s testimonies affected observers’ perception, authenticity assessments, and memory of children’s appearance and statements.
Results of the study concur with previous findings in that adults’ ability to assess children’s genuineness is mediocre, and adults assessing children’s genuineness seem to focus more on the verbal aspects than on the nonverbal. The study extends previous research by showing that live observers focus more on the verbal aspects of the statements than video observers. In addition, (live vs. video) observers perceived the children in more positive terms. Also, (live vs. video) observers believed they had a better memory of the children’s statements, and that this belief was warranted. In many cases where children are alleged victims, their testimony is the sole piece of evidence, due to the lack of medical and other physical evidence. This study investigated two modes of presentations used in courts: live and videotaped testimonies. The study sought to investigate whether observers perceived, assessed and remembered children’s live and video-based testimonies differently. In addition, observers’ ability to distinguish between children’s truthful and deceptive testimonies was investigated. Also, children’s experience of being evaluated (by adult observers) when interviewed about a self-experienced event versus an event that they lied about having experienced was examined. Fourteen children age 10 to 11 years old who had experienced an event or learned about the event by hearsay testified about the event 2 weeks later. Mock jurors watched the children’s testimonies both live and on video, rated their perception of the children’s statement and appearance, and assessed the children’s veracity. Tables, references