Free-Floating Hostility

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Parents Just Don't Understand. Or Customs Agents.

I spent a lot of my day today crawling around PubMed, which is cool, except that there were all these interesting articles that I had to pass over in order to find the ones I was looking for. I did read a few of the abstracts, though, and this was the coolest one, though of course it has disturbing implications for the careers of child drug mules. And for our baby neighbor who's about to get a little life-ruiner--er, brother.

Dad: Sophia? Did you gouge those chunks out of your brother's face?
Sophia: No.
Dad: I didn't think so.

"Intuitive" lie detection of children's deception by law enforcement officials and university students.

Leach AM, Talwar V, Lee K, Bala N, Lindsay RC.
Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Law Hum Behav. 2004 Dec;28(6):661-85.

Adults' ability to detect children's deception was examined. Police
officers, customs officers, and university students attempted to
differentiate between children who lied or told the truth about a
transgression. When children were simply questioned about the event
(Experiment 1), the adult groups could not distinguish between
lie-tellers and truth-tellers. However, participants were more
accurate when the children had participated in moral reasoning tasks
(Experiment 2) or promised to tell the truth (Experiment 3) before
being interviewed. Additional exposure to the children did not affect
accuracy (Experiment 4). Customs officers were more certain about
their judgments than other groups, but no more accurate. Overall,
adults have a limited ability to identify children's deception,
regardless of their experience with lie detection.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at March 02, 2005 4:57 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • From what I can remember from evidence class, it is not only children who are hard to evaluate, but people of all ages. Apparently in studies that I cannot cite to in Pubmed, people are very bad at figuring out from a person's speech and body language whether he is telling the truth. This is of course is somewhat disappointing given our system's attachment to evaluating witnesses under questioning in person, which is totally based on the mistaken belief that a jury of citizens makes a great lie detection device.

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