Question Types, Responsiveness and Self-contradictions When Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys Question Alleged Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Lyon, Thomas D
Applied Cognitive Psychology
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Andrews, S., Lamb, M., & Lyon, T. D. (2014). Question Types, Responsiveness and Self-contradictions When Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys Question Alleged Victims of Child Sexual Abuse. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29 253-261. https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3103
We examined 120 trial transcripts of 6- to 12-year-old children testifying to sexual abuse. Age and attorney role were analyzed in relation to question types, children’s responsiveness, and self-contradiction frequency. A total of 48,716 question-response pairs were identified. Attorneys used more closed-ended than open-ended prompts. Prosecutors used more invitations (3% vs. 0%), directives and optionposing prompts than defence attorneys, who used more suggestive prompts than prosecutors. Children were more unresponsive to defence attorneys than to prosecutors. Self-contradictions were identified in 95% of the cases. Defence attorneys elicited more self-contradictions than prosecutors, but nearly all prosecutors (86%) elicited at least one self-contradiction. Suggestive questions elicited more selfcontradictions than any other prompt type. There were no associations with age. These findings suggest that neither prosecutors nor defence attorneys question children in developmentally appropriate ways.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3103
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/246456