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Received: from SOUTH-STATION-ANNEX.MIT.EDU by po6.MIT.EDU (5.61/4.7) id AA20906; Mon, 8 Aug 94 11:12:15 EDT Received: from sifon.CC.McGill.CA by MIT.EDU with SMTP id AA22623; Mon, 8 Aug 94 11:11:59 EDT Received: from (hebb.Psych.McGill.CA []) by sifon.CC.McGill.CA (8.6.8/8.6.6) with SMTP id LAA10443 for ; Mon, 8 Aug 1994 11:11:55 -0400 Received: by (4.1/SMI-4.1) id AA09997; Mon, 8 Aug 94 11:20:31 EDT Date: Mon, 8 Aug 1994 11:20:05 -0400 (EDT) From: Maggie Bruck Subject: kelly2 To: harris@MIT.EDU Message-Id: Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII Content-Transfer-Encoding: QUOTED-PRINTABLE Kelly Part II A recent study by Tobey and Goodman (1992) suggests that=20 interviews by high status adults who make such statements may=20 have negative effects on the accuracy of children's reports. In=20 their study, 4-year-olds played a game with a research assistant=20 who was called a "baby-sitter". Eleven days later, the children=20 returned to the laboratory. Half of the children met a police=20 officer who said "I am very concerned that something bad might have happened the=20 last time that you were here. I think that the babysitter you saw here=20 last time might have done some bad things and I am trying to find=20 out what happened the last time you were here when you played=20 with the babysitter. We need your help. My partner is going to=20 come in now and ask you some questions about what happened." A research assistant dressed-up as a police officer then=20 questioned these children. The other children never met the=20 police officer; they were only questioned by a neutral interviewer=20 about what happened with the baby-sitter. When the children=20 were asked to tell everything they could remember, the children=20 in the police condition gave fewer accurate statements and more=20 inaccurate statements than children in the neutral condition. =20 Two of the 13 children in the police condition seemed to be=20 decisively misled by the suggestion that the baby sitter had done=20 something bad. One girl said to her mother, "I think the baby- sitter had a gun and was going to kill me." Later, in her free=20 recall, the same child said, "That man he might try to do=20 something bad to me....really bad, yes siree." The second child=20 inaccurately reported his ideas of what something bad might be, =20 by saying "I fell down, I got lost, I got hurt on my legs, and I cut=20 my ears." =20 Goodman (1993) summarizes these findings as follows:=20 =20 "One should be concerned not only with the actual questions but=20 also with the context of the interview. An accusatory or intimidating=20 context leads to increased errors in children's reports (p. 15)." (FOOTNOTE. Note the discrepancy between Goodman's=20 interpretations of her own results and that of the district attorney =20 (see p. 45 supplemental brief). Another feature of some of the Wee Care interviews was that=20 there was often more than one adult questioner present in the=20 interview. One might argue that this might be a safe-guard to=20 ensure that the child tells the truth--especially if one of the=20 adults is the child's parent. However, it also seems that=20 additional adults merely multiply the number of questions that=20 the child is asked about the same theme-"Tell us how you were=20 sexually abused by Kelly". And these increased questions may=20 increase children's willingness to defer to the adults' agenda=20 rather than to their own memories of whether an event actually=20 occurred. In the following 13C is interviewed by Fonelleras (L) and=20 Detective Mastroangelo (R) L: What little girls did she do that to? 13C: (names a child) L: Who? 13C: (repeats) L: really R: You want to show us again what she did with the fork? L: Show us again what you just showed us R: She put the fork where? 13C: The vagina R: OK, whose vagina? 13C: um R: Do you know. Who, honey? 13C: Down there. L: OK but who's this little girl? 13C: Huh? 7. The Effects of Stereotype Inducement As we have argued above, suggestions do not have to=20 necessarily be in the form of an explicit (mis)leading question=20 such as, "Show me how she touched your bottom." One component=20 of a suggestive interview involves the induction of stereotypes. =20 That is, if a child is repeatedly told that a person "does bad=20 things", then the child may begin to incorporate this belief into=20 his or her reports. As the following two studies demonstrate,=20 stereotype induction can have a very powerful effect on children's=20 subsequent reports. In the first study (Lepore & Sesco, in press), children ranging in=20 age from 4- to 6-years old played some games with a man called=20 Dale. Dale played with some of the toys in a researcher's=20 laboratory room and he also asked the child to help him take off=20 his sweater. Later, an interviewer asked the child to tell her=20 everything that happened when Dale was in the room. For half the=20 children, the interviewer maintained a neutral stance whenever=20 they recalled an action. For the remaining children, the=20 interviewer re-interpreted each of the child's responses in an=20 incriminating way by stating, "He wasn't supposed to do or say=20 that. That was bad. What else did he do?" Thus, in this=20 incriminating condition, a negative stereotype was induced. At=20 the conclusion of these incriminating procedures, the children=20 heard three misleading statements about things that had not=20 happened ("Didn't he take off some of your clothes, too?", "Other=20 kids have told me that he kissed them, didn't he do that to you?"=20 and, "He touched you and he wasn't supposed to do that, was he?") =20 All children were then asked a series of direct questions,=20 requiring "yes" or "no" answers, about what had happened with=20 Dale. =20 Children in the incriminating condition gave many more=20 inaccurate responses to the direct yes-no questions than children=20 in the neutral condition. Interestingly, 1/3 of the children in the=20 incriminating condition embellished their responses to these=20 questions, and the embellished responses were always in the=20 direction of the incriminating suggestions. The question that=20 elicited the most frequent embellishments was: "Did Dale ever=20 touch other kids at the school?" Embellishments to this question=20 included information about who Dale touched (e.g., "He touched=20 Jason, he touched Tori, and he touched Molly."), where he touched=20 them (e.g., "He touched them on their legs."), how he touched them=20 (e.g., "....and some he kissed....on the lips"), and how he took their=20 clothes off ("Yes, my shoes and my socks and my pants. But not=20 my shirt."). When they were re-interviewed one week later,=20 children in the incriminating condition continued to answer the=20 yes/no questions inaccurately and they continued to embellish=20 their answers.=20 The second study also demonstrates the powerful effects of=20 stereotype inductions especially when these are paired with=20 repeated suggestive questioning. A stranger named Sam Stone=20 paid a two-minute visit to preschoolers (aged 3 to 6 years) in=20 their daycare center (see Leichtman & Ceci, in press). Following=20 Sam Stone's visit, the children were asked for details about the=20 visit on 4 different occasions over a 10-week period. During=20 these 4 occasions, the interviewer refrained from using=20 suggestive questions. She simply encouraged children to describe=20 Sam Stone's visit in as much detail as possible. One month=20 following the fourth interview, the children were interviewed a=20 fifth time, by a new interviewer who asked about two "non- events" which involved Sam doing something to a teddy bear and a=20 book. In reality, Sam Stone never touched either one. When asked=20 in the fifth interview: "Did Sam Stone do anything to a book or a=20 teddy bear?" most children rightfully replied "No." Only 10% of=20 the youngest (3 to 4-year- old) children's answers contained=20 claims that Sam Stone did anything to a book or teddy bear. When=20 asked if they actually saw him do anything to the book or teddy=20 bear, as opposed to "thinking they saw him do something," or"=20 hearing he did something," now only 5% of their answers=20 contained claims that anything occurred. Finally, when these 5%=20 were gently challenged ("You didn't really see him do anything to=20 the book/the teddy bear, did you?") only 2.5% still insisted on the=20 reality of the fictional event. None of the older (5 to 6-year-old)=20 children claimed to have actually seen Sam Stone do either of the=20 fictional events. A second group of preschoolers were presented with a=20 stereotype of Sam Stone before he ever visited their school. Each=20 week, beginning a month prior to Sam Stone's visit, these children=20 were told a new Sam Stone story, in which he was depicted as=20 very clumsy. For example: =20 You'll never guess who visited me last night. [pause] That's right.=20 Sam Stone! And guess what he did this time? He asked to borrow=20 my Barbie and when he was carrying her down the stairs, he tripped=20 and fell and broke her arm. That Sam Stone is always getting into=20 accidents and breaking things! Following Sam Stone's visit, these children were given 4=20 suggestive interviews over a ten-week period. Each suggestive=20 interview contained two erroneous suggestions, one having to do=20 with ripping a book and the other with soiling a teddy bear (e.g.,=20 "Remember that time Sam Stone visited your classroom and=20 spilled chocolate on that white teddy bear? Did he do it on=20 purpose or was it an accident?" and "When Sam Stone ripped that=20 book, was he being silly or was he angry?"). Ten weeks later, when a new interviewer probed about these=20 events ("Did anything happen to a book?" "Did anything happen to a=20 teddy bear?"), 72% of the youngest preschoolers claimed that Sam=20 Stone did one or both misdeeds, a figure that dropped to 44% when=20 asked if they actually saw him do these things. Importantly, 21%=20 continued to insist that they saw him do these things, even when=20 gently challenged. The older preschoolers, though more accurate,=20 still included some children (11%) who insisted they saw him do=20 the misdeeds. Stereotype induction was rampant in the initial Wee Care=20 interviews. The interviewers explicitly repeated in various=20 interviews that Kelly was bad. Based on analyses of the existing=20 interviews, the investigator told 15 of the 34 interviewed=20 children that Kelly was in jail because she had done bad things. =20 The investigators told the children that they needed their help to=20 keep Kelly in jail. The investigators also promoted fear by asking=20 leading questions about whether Kelly had threatened them or=20 their families if they were to tell on her. Sometimes the=20 investigators suggested that she had claimed to have=20 supernatural powers ("Kelly said a lot of things to some kids and I=20 think that she might have said them to you too, like she had some=20 special powers like she can come through a wall and she could=20 lift our bed and stuff like that..."). The investigators constantly=20 told the children that they were now safe and could talk because=20 Kelly was in jail. It is interesting that despite these statements that pervaded=20 the interviews, in the early interviews at least, the children did=20 not completely incorporate the suggested stereotypes of Kelly. =20 Sixteen of the 34 children never said they were afraid of her and=20 the remaining children never volunteered that information. Some=20 children claimed that Kelly was bad, but these claims were never=20 completely justified by the children. For example, in one of the=20 few examples we have of two transcribed interviews for the=20 same child, we see that in the first of the transcribed interviews=20 (but not the first interview) the child is repeatedly asked about=20 bad things that Kelly did. She denies that Kelly did anything bad=20 to her. In the next (transcribed) interview, the following=20 exchange takes place: Q: Was Kelly a good girl or a bad girl? A: She was a bad girl. Q: She was a bad girl. Were there any other teachers who were bad? A: No Q: Kelly was the only bad girl? What did Kelly do that made her a=20 bad girl? A: She readed Q: She what? A: She readed and she came to me and I said no, no, no. Q: Did she hurt you? A: I hurted her. Q: How did you hurt her? A: Because I didn't want to write and she write and I said no, no,=20 no, no and I hit her. When other children made statements that Kelly was bad, it is=20 impossible to tell whether these statements reflect the fact that=20 Kelly actually did bad things or whether these reports reflect the=20 children's adoption of the interviewers' suggested stereotypes of=20 Kelly, an indeterminacy exacerbated by the general absence of=20 recorded initial interviews.=20 8. The Use of Anatomically Detailed Dolls Anatomically detailed dolls are frequently used by=20 professionals, including child therapists, police, child protection=20 workers, and attorneys, when interviewing children about=20 suspected sexual abuse. They were used repeatedly in the=20 interviews with the Wee Care children. =20 One rationale for the use of anatomical dolls is that they allow=20 children to manipulate objects reminiscent of a critical event,=20 thereby cuing recall and overcoming language and memory=20 problems. Another rationale is that their use is thought to=20 overcome motivational problems of embarrassment and shyness. =20 The dolls have also been used as projective tests. Some=20 professionals claim that if a child actively avoids these dolls,=20 shows distress if they are undressed, or shows unusual=20 preoccupation with their genitalia, this is consistent with the=20 hypothesis that the child has been abused (see Mason, 1991).=20 The use of anatomically detailed dolls has raised scepticism,=20 however, among researchers and professionals alike. Two related=20 arguments are frequently invoked against their use. The first is=20 that the dolls are suggestive, that they encourage the child to=20 engage in sexual play even if the child has not been sexually=20 abused (e.g., Gardner, 1989; Terr, 1988). A child, for instance,=20 may insert a finger into a doll's genitalia simply because of its=20 novelty or "affordance," much the way a child may insert a finger=20 into the hole of a doughnut. Another criticism is that it is=20 impossible to make firm judgments about children's abuse status=20 on the basis of their doll play because there are no normative=20 data on nonabused children's doll play. Over the past several=20 years, researchers have conducted a number of studies to address=20 these concerns. In several studies, researchers have compared the doll play of=20 children suspected of having been sexually abused with children=20 not suspected of having been abused. In addition, there have been=20 a score of studies examining the doll play of non-abused children. =20 Reviews of this literature (Berry & Skinner, 1993; Ceci & Bruck,=20 1993a; Wolfner, Faust, & Dawes, 1993) indicate that many of the=20 studies are methodologically inadequate and do not allow for firm=20 interpretations about the potential usefulness or risks of using=20 dolls. Furthermore, other data indicate that some of the play=20 patterns thought to be characteristic of abused children, such as=20 playing with the dolls in a suggestive or explicit sexual manner,=20 or showing reticence or avoidance when presented with the dolls,=20 also occur in samples of nonabused children. More recent studies have focused on how accurately young=20 preschoolers use dolls to represent themselves. For example,=20 DeLoache (1993) used dolls to interview 2.5-, 3-, and 4-year-old=20 children about a play session they had had with a male=20 experimenter. The dolls did not help the children report their=20 experiences. The younger children in particular gave fuller and=20 more accurate accounts of where they had been touched without=20 the dolls than they did with the dolls. When asked to place=20 stickers on the doll in the same places that stickers had been=20 placed on their own bodies, the younger children were not very=20 successful. Indeed, many of the children did not seem to realize=20 that they were supposed to treat the doll as a representation of=20 themselves. Further, several children in this and a subsequent=20 on-going study rejected the suggestion that they "pretend that=20 this doll is you." This last finding is important, since a=20 reluctance to play with dolls in forensic or therapeutic interview=20 sessions is often taken as a possible indicant of abuse. Generally=20 these results indicate that very young children may not have the=20 cognitive sophistication to use a doll to represent their own=20 experiences. Hence, the use of dolls may actually impede or=20 distort, rather than facilitate and clarify, their ability to provide=20 accurate testimony. Two studies have examined how accurately non-abused children=20 use the dolls to show how they were touched during a pediatric=20 visit. In both studies, half the children received genital=20 examinations and half did not. If the dolls provide children with a=20 tool that will allow them to overcome their shyness, and=20 embarrassment concerning sexual matters, then reports of=20 genital touching should be more accurate when children are=20 allowed to re-enact events with the dolls. The results of both=20 studies fail to support this hypothesis. The first study included =20 5- and 7-year old girls (Saywitz, Goodman, Nicholas & Moan,=20 1991). When the children were asked for a verbal report of their=20 genital examination, 78% of the children who had received a=20 genital examination failed to disclose genital touching. When=20 given the opportunity to provide the same information with the=20 dolls ("Show me with the dolls what happened"), 83% of these=20 children failed to disclose genital touching. However, when the=20 experimenter pointed to either the genitalia or buttocks of the=20 doll and asked a direct question, "Did the doctor touch you here?",=20 only 22% of the responses were incorrect denials. Children who=20 did not receive a genital examination never made a false report in=20 the verbal free recall or doll enactment conditions. However,=20 when the experimenter pointed to the genital or anal region of the=20 doll and asked, "Did the doctor touch you here?", 9% of these=20 children inaccurately claimed that they had been touched. These=20 results indicate that regardless of interviewing technique, 5-=20 and 7- year old children rarely make false reports about genital=20 touching. These data also indicate that the dolls do not assist the=20 children to divulge potentially embarrassing material, unless the=20 interviewer uses highly directive questioning. As the next study=20 shows, however, a very different pattern of results is obtained=20 for younger children.=20 Three-year old children visited their pediatrician for their=20 annual check-up (Ceci & Bruck,1993b). Half the children received=20 a genital examination where the pediatrician gently touched their=20 buttocks and genitals. The other children were not touched in=20 these areas. Immediately after the examination, an experimenter=20 pointed to the genitalia or buttocks of an anatomically detailed=20 doll and asked the child, "Did the Doctor touch you here?" Only=20 45% of the children who received the genital exam correctly=20 answered yes; and only 50% of the children who did not receive a=20 genital exam correctly answered "No" (i.e. 50% of these children=20 falsely reported touching). When the children were simply asked=20 to "Show on the doll" how the doctor had touched their buttocks or=20 genitalia, accuracy did not improve. Now only 25% of the children=20 who had received genital examinations correctly showed how the=20 pediatrician had touched their genitals and buttocks. Accuracy=20 decreased in part because a significant number of female=20 subjects inserted their fingers into the anal or genital cavities of=20 the dolls; the pediatrician never did this. Only 45% of the=20 children who did not receive genital examinations were accurate=20 by not showing any touching. That is 55% of the children who did=20 not receive genital examinations falsely showed either genital or=20 anal touching when given the dolls. Thus these data indicate that=20 three-year-old preschool children are inaccurate when reporting=20 how and where they were touched, even when the touching=20 occurred five minutes prior to the interview. Children who were=20 not touched demonstrated on the dolls that they were touched and=20 children who were touched either refused to admit that they were=20 touched, or at the other extreme they showed penetration when=20 none had occurred. The use of the dolls increases this type of=20 inaccurate reporting in three-year-old children. The interview procedures in this study also elicited a number=20 of other behaviors that adults might interpret as sexual. When=20 the children were given a stethoscope and asked to show what the=20 doctor did with it, some children incorrectly showed that he used=20 the instrument to examine their genitals. The children were also=20 shown a small spoon and asked whether the doctor had used it=20 (the doctor had not used a spoon). A number of the children were=20 inaccurate, stating that he had given them medicine with it. The=20 children were then asked one time, "How might he use this=20 spoon?" A small but significant number of children (18%)=20 inserted the spoon into the genital or anal openings or hit the=20 doll's genitals. These "sexualized" behaviors do not reflect three-year-old=20 children's sexual knowledge or experiences but two other factors. =20 First, the types of questions and props used in the interviews=20 (asking children to name body parts, including genitals, showing=20 children anatomically detailed dolls and asking children to=20 manipulate these dolls) make the children come to think that it is=20 not only permissible but it is expected to respond to the=20 interviewers' questions using these same terms. Second, the=20 children insert fingers or objects into the dolls openings for the=20 same reasons they would insert a finger into the hole of a=20 doughnut; it is there, it is something to manipulate. In the initial interviews with the Wee Care children,=20 anatomically detailed dolls were shown to the children before=20 they said anything about abuse in 24 of the 39 interviews. Most=20 of the leading and suggestive aspects of the transcribed=20 interviews involve the interviewers' interactions with the dolls=20 and their asking children sexualized questions in the contexts of=20 the demonstrations with the dolls. In 17 of the 39 sessions=20 silverware was given to the children with dolls. The children=20 were asked such questions as: =20 Interviewer: Did Kelly ever do anything to you with a knife that hurt=20 you ? Child: No. Interviewer: Did she ever do bad things or hurt you with a spoon?=20 Child: No. Interviewer: Did she ever do bad things or hurt you with a knife?=20 Child: No. Interviewer Okay. What about a wooden spoon? =20 Child: No. Children were asked to speculate about how silverware could=20 have been used. =20 Interviewer: Why don't you show me how you think a little girl can=20 be hurt by the fork? And Interviewer: Why don't you show me what Kelly did with the big=20 wooden spoon. Often, as shown above, the children resisted these suggestions,=20 but sometimes after much repetition, the children responded by=20 poking the silverware into the genitalia or buttocks of the doll: Interviewer: Can you think of a way somebody might have used=20 this to hurt little girls? Child: (indicates the tummy) Interviewer: Where else do you think a little girl could have gotten=20 hurt with a wooden spoon? Child: The belly button. Interviewer: Where else do you think a little girl might get hit with a=20 wooden spoon? How do you think Kelly used this fork to hurt little=20 girls? Child: Belly button. Interviewer: Where else? (finally after many more persistent questions) Child:.Bottom.=20 Researchers Bruck & Ceci, were much more successful than the=20 Wee Care interviewers in eliciting sexualized reports from=20 children when they were first asked how one might use a spoon! =20 Remember, the three-year-old children in the Bruck and Ceci=20 study were only asked one time about how a spoon might be used. There are difficulties in drawing parallels between the=20 behaviors of children in research studies and the behaviors of=20 children in actual forensic contexts or clinical settings. =20 Transcripts of some of these sessions with children suspected of=20 having been sexually abused reveal the following practices by=20 interviewers: naming the dolls after defendants (In 12 of the=20 transcribed interviews, Wee Care investigators named a doll=20 Kelly rather than allowing the child to do so); berating the dolls=20 for alleged abuses against the child (e.g., shaking a finger at the=20 male doll who has been named after the defendant, and yelling:=20 "You are naughty for hurting Jennifer!"); assuming the role of=20 fantasy characters in doll play; creating a persistent atmosphere=20 of accusation; and asking a stream of suggestive questions that=20 reflect the sexual knowledge of the adult interviewer (ROBERT=20 PUT IN EXAMPLES OF THESE). Non-abused children in research=20 studies were never subjected to such highly suggestive=20 experiences; they were never given prior motivation to play with=20 the dolls suggestively or aggressively. If they had been, it is=20 possible that their play with the dolls would contain many=20 explicit sexual events, reflecting prior interviewing techniques=20 rather than sexual abuse. Because the initial interviews with the Wee Care children=20 were not recorded, we cannot determine how Wee Care children=20 were first interviewed with the dolls and how they responded to=20 their introduction. But we do know from comments in the later=20 transcribed interviews that children had interacted with the=20 dolls on previous occasions. This raises the issue of whether any=20 sexualized behavior or sexualized reports in the transcribed=20 interviews reflects the children's prior exposure to the dolls=20 rather than their attempt to demonstrate how they were sexually=20 abused. That is, the dolls may serve as a nonverbal suggestive=20 device which promotes subsequent sexualized play and sexualized=20 verbalizations, none of which are accurate indicators of past=20 abuse. These concerns are raised by the behavior of one non- abused child who served as a pilot subject in a study of young=20 children's interactions with anatomically detailed dolls=20 (described in Ceci, in press and Ceci & Bruck1993b).=20 A three-and-a-half year old non-abused girl was examined by a=20 pediatrician. She was not given a genital examination. =20 Immediately after the examination, when interviewed by the=20 experimenter, she correctly said that the doctor had not touched=20 her genitals or buttocks. Furthermore, when shown an=20 anatomically detailed doll and told to show how the doctor had=20 touched her genitals and buttocks, she correctly stated that he=20 had not touched her. Three days later, the same child was given=20 an anatomically detailed doll and asked to show all the things=20 that the doctor had done in her previous visit. This time, she=20 inserted a stick into the vagina of the doll and said that this had=20 happened at the doctor's office. However, upon further=20 questioning, she said that the doctor did not do this. Three days=20 later, the child was asked to use the anatomically detailed doll=20 and to show her father everything that had happened at the=20 examination. This time, she hammered a stick into the doll's=20 vagina and then inserted a toy earscope into the doll's anus. When=20 asked if this really happened, she said "Yes it did." When her=20 father and the experimenter both tried to debrief her with such=20 statements as, "Your doctor doesn't do those things to little girls. =20 You were just fooling. We know he didn't do those things", the=20 three-year-old tenaciously clung to her prior claims that she had=20 just demonstrated on the doll (a videotape of this child's doll play=20 is enclosed with the brief. maybe). Thus, repeated exposure to=20 the doll, with minimal suggestions, resulted in highly sexualized=20 play for this one 3-year-old subject. Although this pilot=20 observation calls for more systematic research on the influence=20 of repeated exposure to anatomically detailed dolls in interviews=20 with sexual themes, the dramatic and startling results of this=20 one subject demonstrates vividly the potential suggestiveness of=20 anatomical dolls with non-abused 3-year-olds.=20 Wolfner and his colleagues (993) concluded their recent review=20 article on the use of anatomical dolls with the following=20 statement: ...we are left with the conclusion that there is simply no scientific=20 evidence available that would justify clinical or forensic diagnosis of=20 abuse on the basis of the dolls. The common counter is that such=20 play is "just one component" in reaching such a diagnosis based on=20 a "full clinical" picture....[Doll] play cannot be validly used as a=20 component, however, unless it provides incremental validity and=20 there is virtually no evidence that it does."(Wolfner, et al., p. 9). Since this statement was written, we now have data on three- year-old children's interactions with anatomically detailed dolls=20 (Ceci & Bruck, described above). If replicated, these data would=20 appear to suggest that dolls ought not be used in interviews with=20 young children, as their use promotes sexualized behavior and=20 false reports in non-abused children.=20 9. Less Invasive Methods: Source Attribution Errors In the previous sections, we have presented some of the=20 elements of interviews that may produce inaccurate reporting. =20 To a large extent, these elements are quite salient; their=20 presence can be easily isolated in recorded interviews. Some=20 authors of this brief have recently conducted three different=20 types of studies that illustrate how suggestions that are=20 delivered in a much milder and less detectible manner can also=20 have repercussions on children's memories and reports.=20 These three studies focus on the theoretical construct of=20 "source attribution error". This refers to the problems that both=20 children and adults have in separating the sources of their=20 memories. In some cases, this may be particularly problematic=20 for some children. For example, 6- and 9- year- old children=20 make more errors than adults when discriminating between=20 actions they performed and actions they merely imagined=20 themselves performing (Foley & Johnson, 1985). When asked to=20 remember which of two people said what, preschool children have=20 a more difficult time than adults, if the two people speaking=20 share similar physical characteristics (Foley & Johnson, 1985;=20 Lindsay, Johnson, & Kwon, 1991). Zaragoza and her colleagues (Ackil & Zaragoza, 1993) have used=20 some of these same techniques to explore the basis of children's=20 suggestibility. In these experiments, subjects viewed a=20 videotape, after which the experimenter read them a summary of=20 the video which contained events that were part of the video as=20 well as events that were not part of the video. Sometime later,=20 subjects were given a surprise memory test; here they were read=20 a list of events and asked to say whether they remembered seeing=20 the event on the video, or hearing the event from the summary, or=20 both. The youngest children (6-year-olds) were most prone to=20 confusing actually viewed with suggested (heard) events. These=20 findings suggest that suggestibility effects reflect young=20 children's susceptibility to serious memory errors, namely the=20 tendency to believe they remembered seeing details that were=20 only suggested to them. The next two experiments take this=20 paradigm closer to the field of children's testimony in the=20 forensic context.=20 In the following experiment, Poole and Lindsay (unpublished)=20 demonstrated how source attribution errors may occur through=20 subtle interventions, such as parents reading a book to their=20 child. In this study, preschoolers played with "Mr. Science" for 16=20 minutes in a university laboratory. During that time the child=20 participated in four demonstrations (e.g, lifting cans with=20 pulleys). Four months later, the parents were mailed a story book=20 which was specially constructed for each child. It contained a=20 biographical description of their child's visit to Mr. Science. =20 However, not all of the information was accurate; the story=20 described two of the experiments that the child had seen and it=20 also described two that the child had not seen. Furthermore, each=20 story finished with the following fabricated account of what=20 happened when it was time to leave the laboratory, "Mr Science wiped (child's name) hands and face with a wet-wipe. =20 The cloth got close to (child's name) mouth and tasted really=20 yuckie." The parents read the story to their children three times.=20 These young children were very susceptible to source=20 attribution errors. When later interviewed by the experimenters,=20 the children reported that they had participated in=20 demonstrations which had only been mentioned in the stories read=20 to them by their parents. When asked whether Mr. Science put=20 anything "yuckie" in their mouths, more than half of the children=20 inaccurately replied "yes", and these children elaborated their=20 "yes" answers. Moreover, inaccurate reports of having something=20 "yuckie" put in their mouths increased on repeated questioning; =20 when asked, "Did Mr. Science put something yuckie in your mouth=20 or did your Mom just read you this in a story?", now 71% of the=20 children said that it really happened. This study demonstrates=20 how very subtle suggestions can influence children's inaccurate=20 reporting of non-events which can have a sexual interpretation. The next study, conducted by Ceci and his colleagues (Ceci,=20 Crotteau, Smith & Loftus, in press) was designed to pursue the=20 question of whether preschoolers exhibit source misattributions=20 when they are repeatedly encouraged to think about events that=20 never occurred. Each week for 10 consecutive weeks, an=20 interviewer asked preschoolers to think about both actual events=20 that they had experienced in their distant past (e.g., an accident=20 that eventuated in stitches) and fictitious events that they had=20 never experienced (e.g., getting their hand caught in a mousetrap=20 and having to go to the hospital to get it removed; seeing an=20 alligator on a bus with an apple in its mouth). Each of these=20 events and non-events was wri=06 on a separate card. The child=20 selected a card, the interviewer would read it aloud, and then ask=20 if the event ever happened. For example, when the child selected=20 the card that read: "Got finger caught in a mousetrap and had to go=20 to the hospital to get the trap off", the interviewer would ask: =20 "Think real hard, and tell me if this ever happened to you. Can you=20 remember going to the hospital with the mousetrap on your=20 finger?" (This study will be henceforth referred to as "The=20 Mousetrap Study".) After 10 weeks of thinking about both real and fictitious=20 events, these preschool children were interviewed by a second=20 interviewer. Initially, the interviewer asked: "Tell me if this=20 ever happened to you: Did you ever get your finger caught in a=20 mousetrap and have to go to the hospital to get the trap off?" =20 Following the child=D5s reply, the interviewer asked for additional=20 details (e.g., "Can you tell me more?"). When exposed to these very mild manipulations, 58% of the=20 preschool children produced false narratives to one or more of=20 these fictitious events; 25% produced false narratives to the=20 majority of them. Furthermore, the children's reports did not=20 solely contain one word responses; their narratives contained=20 elaborated and embellished descriptions of events that never=20 occurred. Some accounts were internally coherent, containing not=20 only details and sequences of events that never occurred but also=20 containing descriptions of the child's affect during these non- events (see enclosed videotape, maybe). MAKE THIS WHOLE PARAGRAPH A FOOTNOTE: It should be noted=20 that subsequent work with same paradigm indicates that the=20 same quality of false report can be produced in half the time as=20 the original experiment. Furthermore, similar patterns of=20 results have been recently reported for adult subjects (e.g.,=20 Hyman et al., 1993; Loftus, 1993). END OF FOOTNOTE. These data indicate that children can come to make false=20 reports about non-occurring events, even ostensibly painful=20 bodily events, when suggestions are mildly made in the course of=20 a conversation or a story-telling activity. If children are=20 repeatedly asked by investigators, therapists, and parents to try=20 to remember "how someone touched you" or "if someone touched=20 your vagina", will children eventually come to make statements=20 that they had been sexually abused, when abuse had never taken=20 place? Furthermore, when parents or therapists read books with=20 abuse themes to children, do children come to believe what=20 happened in the book actually happened to them? (For example, Dr.=20 Susan Esquilin read Where the Wild Things Are to some the the=20 Wee Care children. One of the pictures contains a monster with=20 a fork running after a child. After reading this book, some=20 children began reporting abuse with utensils. ROBERT IS THIS=20 CORRECT??) There are no data on these important issues. =20 However, the results of the studies that we have just reviewed=20 provide a theoretical and empirical framework for suspecting=20 that such activities=06ld lead to significant source=20 misattributions.=20


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