WHAT ARE CHILDREN TELLING US? A CROSS CULTURAL STUDY OF CHILDREN'S SUGGESTIBILITY
Deshmukh, Renu Rajendra
ABSTRACT The suggestibility of children in interrogative situations is a significant issue from both developmental and legal standpoints. Formerly, studies in this area indicated that there were pronounced age-related differences in suggestibility, with preschool children being particularly susceptible to misleading suggestions. The present study attempts to make an international comparison between Indian and American children and the role that a child’s age, gender, culture and exposure to socially conforming and authoritarian parenting may have on children’s performance on measures of suggestibility. Analyses revealed that while both groups of children responded affirmatively to suggestive questions, cultural differences— manifested in the current work as an ascription to either individualistic or collectivistic attitudes- were seen in their responses. American children were found to be more suggestible than Indian children, with an association being observed between permissive parenting and suggestibility. Additionally, three-tofour year olds were more suggestible than their older counterparts, and boys more suggestible than girls. This work is discussed within the context of children’s eye-witness memory, and highlights the usefulness of such measures in forensic settings.
eye-witness memories; forensic setting; parenting style; suggestibility; culture; Cognitive psychology; Law; Developmental psychology; Children
Ceci, Stephen John
M.A., Human Development
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis