Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Children better witnesses than previously thought

12.09.2011
Children are more reliable eyewitnesses than had previously been thought, according to witness psychologist Gunilla Fredin at Lund University in Sweden. She also questions a common method used for police identity parades (line-ups) with children.

Young children who witness crimes are good at recounting the events. It is true that they include fewer details than older children and adults, but what they say is more accurate. This has been shown in a study which Gunilla Fredin has carried out on children in the age groups 8–9 and 11–12 as well as adults.

“Older children and adults have had more experiences and can therefore find it difficult to differentiate between reality and fiction”, says Gunilla Fredin. “Adults, however, are conscious that they may get things mixed up, while children in the 11–12 age group are often very certain, even when they are wrong.”

In Sweden, where the study was carried out, there has not been any previous research on children and identity parades, but the general perception has been that young children are not particularly reliable, explains Gunilla Fredin.

In another study, Gunilla Fredin set up identity parades in line with the model recommended by Swedish police. Children aged 11–12 and adults were shown a film of a robbery. They were then asked to identify the robber from photographs.
The model is known as a sequential identity parade. The witnesses only get to see one photograph at a time, never all together. However, they can see each picture twice, and it is here the problem lies, according to Gunilla Fredin.

“As the pictures are shown repeatedly, the witnesses’ memory images are destroyed; in the end they believe that they recognise the culprit, yet the person might not even have been involved in the incident”, she says, adding that 60 per cent of the children and 50 per cent of the adults pointed out innocent individuals.

In Gunilla Fredin’s view, consideration must be given to the fact that children are eager to please and may not always understand the consequences of pointing out an innocent person.

Gunilla Fredin thinks that the value of an identity parade which yields such poor results can be questioned. In Sweden, unlike in the USA, a conviction cannot be secured on the evidence of one eyewitness only. But even in Sweden, eyewitnesses are seen to provide important help to an investigation.

The method which produced the best results in Gunilla Fredin’s study comes from Canada and is known as the elimination method.

“In this method, all the photographs are shown at the same time and the witness has to remove photos that do not depict the perpetrator one at a time. When there is one photograph left, the witness decides whether or not it is of the perpetrator”, says Gunilla Fredin.

Another finding in the thesis, which is perhaps not all that surprising, is that we pay more attention to people of the same age as us. Adults are generally better at recognising adult faces than children are, but one of Gunilla Fredin’s studies showed that they did no better than children when asked to identify children’s faces.

Gunilla Fredin will defend her thesis on 16 September. The thesis is entitled Children as eyewitnesses: memory recall and face recognition. The public defence will be held at 10:15 in Lilla Festsalen in the AF building, Lund.

Contact details: +46 733 48 33 00, gunilla.fredin@psychology.lu.se

Contact details: Gunilla Fredin +46 733 48 33 00, gunilla.fredin@psychology.lu.se

Megan Grindlay | idw
Further information:
http://www.lu.se
http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=12683&postid=2124237

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA eyes Pineapple Express soaking California

24.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

New gene for atrazine resistance identified in waterhemp

24.02.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>