Publication Date

4-15-2018

Advisor(s)

Jessica Karanian

Major

Psychology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Despite being largely connected, research into juror perception of child eyewitnesses and child memory currently exist in very separate spheres. In this paper I analyzed 23 experiments related to jurors' beliefs about child eyewitnesses, and integrated the results with what we know about child memory. At the start of this process I expected to find that jury members vastly underestimate the memory and reliability of children. While my analysis did reveal that children are perceived as less reliable than adults under certain circumstances (e.g. if the child speaks in a powerless style), it also revealed that children are frequently perceived as being equally as reliable as adults, if not more so. This is encouraging given that evidence has shown that children are able to form coherent, detailed memories beginning around 5-years-old. Also of note, my analysis revealed that guilt judgments appear to be made separately from judgments of other dependent measures (e.g. accuracy, honesty, confidence). My original intention was to create a set of recommendations for the court system at the end of this process; however, as I discuss in this paper a number of holes in the research emerged that made this difficult. As a result, I was only able to make a preliminary set of recommendations. These can be found in the conclusion.

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