The productivity of wh- prompts when children testify
Andrews, Samantha J.
Ahern, Elizabeth C.
Stolzenberg, Stacia N.
Lyon, Thomas D.
Applied Cognitive Psychology
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Andrews, S. J., Ahern, E. C., Stolzenberg, S. N., & Lyon, T. D. (2016). The productivity of wh- prompts when children testify. Applied Cognitive Psychology https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3204
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.3204
Wh- prompts (what, how, why, who, when, where) vary widely in their specificity and accuracy, but differences among them have largely been ignored in research examining the productivity of different question-types in child testimony. We examined 120 6- to 12-year-olds’ criminal court testimony in child sexual abuse cases to compare the productivity of various wh- prompts. We distinguished among what/how prompts, most notably: what/how-happen prompts focusing generally on events, what/how-dynamic prompts focusing on actions or unfolding processes/events, what/how-causality prompts focusing on causes and reasons, and what/how-static prompts focusing on non-action contextual information regarding location, objects, and time. Consistent with predictions, what/how-happen prompts were the most productive, and both what/how-dynamic prompts and wh- prompts about causality were more productive than other wh- prompts. Prosecutors asked proportionally more what/how-dynamic prompts and fewer what/how-static prompts than defense attorneys. Future research and interviewer training may benefit from finer discrimination among wh- prompts.
wh- prompts, directive questions, child sexual abuse, defense cross-examination, prosecution direct-examination
This research was supported in part by NICHD Grant HD047290 to Thomas D. Lyon and an ESRC studentship to Samantha J. Andrews.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3204
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/252565
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