Child witnesses productively respond to "How" questions about evaluations but struggle with other "How" questions
Sullivan, Colleen E.
Wylie, Breanne E.
Stolzenberg, Stacia N.
Evans, Angela D.
Lyon, Thomas D.
Cross, Theodore P.
Vandervort, Frank E.
Block, Stephanie D.
Child abuse & neglect
Child abuse, sexual - prevention & control
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractChild interviewers are often advised to avoid asking “How” questions, particularly with young children. However, children tend to answer “How” evaluative questions productively (e.g., “How did you feel?”). “How” evaluative questions are phrased as a “How” followed by an auxiliary verb (e.g., “did” or “was”), but so are “How” questions requesting information about method or manner (e.g., “How did he touch you?”), and “How” method/manner questions might be more difficult for children to answer. We examined 458 5- to 17-year-old children questioned about sexual abuse, identified 2485 "How” questions with an auxiliary verb, and classified them as “How” evaluative (n = 886) or “How” method/manner (n = 1599). Across age, children gave more productive answers to “How” evaluative questions than “How” method/manner questions. Although even young children responded appropriately to “How” method/manner questions over 80% of the time, specific types of “How” method/manner questions were particularly difficult, including questions regarding clothing, body positioning, and the nature of touch. Children’s difficulties lie in specific combinations of “How” questions and topics, rather than “How” questions in general.
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Pseudotemporal invitations: 6- to 9-year-old maltreated children’s tendency to misinterpret invitations referencing “time” as solely requesting conventional temporal informationMcWilliams, Kelly; Williams, Shanna; Henderson, Hayden M.; Evans, Angela D.; Lyon, Thomas D. (Sage Publications, 2023)Forensic interviewers ask children broad input-free recall questions about individual episodes in order to elicit complete narratives, often asking about “the first time,” “the last time,” and “one time.” An overlooked problem is that the word “time” is potentially ambiguous, referring both to a particular episode and to conventional temporal information. We examined 191 6-9-year-old maltreated children’s responses to questions about recent events varying the wording of the invitations, either asking children to “tell me about” or “tell me what happened” one time/the first time/the last time the child experienced recent recurrent events. Additionally, half of the children were asked a series of “when” questions about recurrent events before the invitations. Children were several times more likely to provide exclusively conventional temporal information to “tell me about” invitations compared to “tell me what happened” invitations, and asking “when” questions before the invitations increased children’s tendency to give exclusively conventional temporal information. Children who answered a higher proportion of “when” questions with conventional temporal information were also more likely to do so in response to the invitations. The results suggest that children may often fail to provide narrative information because they misinterpret invitations using the word “time.”
Emerging themes in the development of prospective memory during childhoodMahy, Caitlin; Kliegel, Matthias; Marcovitch, Stuart (Elsevier, 2014)Six years ago, Kvavilashvili, Kyle, and Messer (2008) called for more research in the area of chil dren’s prospective memory (PM), defined as the ability to remember to carry out delayed intentions (Einstein & McDaniel, 1990). At that time, the literature on PM in children was scant, although a few well-developed paradigms were available to measure PM in preschool-age children (Kvavilashvili, Messer, & Ebdon, 2001) and older children during middle childhood (Kerns, 2000). Although there is still much work to be done, the last few years have seen a steep rise in the number of studies on the topic of PM during childhood examining children as young as 2 years using a wide variety of time- and event-based PM paradigms. This recent increase in research activity in children’s PM was reflected in the high number of initial submissions for this special issue (20 manuscripts). The current special issue on the development of PM during childhood offers an overview of this burgeoning area of research, studying children from toddlerhood to adolescence, who are typically and atypically developing, using a wide variety of methods, including naturalistic tasks, experimental tasks, and parent report measures. In what follows, we first discuss the four sections of this special issue: PM research during early childhood, PM and episodic future thinking, PM in clinical populations, and PM during adolescence. We then highlight some emerging themes in this collection of articles that cut across these sections and highlight the contribution such topics will make to the field of PM.
Testing the validity of a continuous false belief task in 3- to 7-year-old childrenMahy, Caitlin; Bernstein, Daniel M.; Gerrard, Lindsey D.; Atance, Christina M. (Elsevier, 2017)A continuous measure of false belief showed development in 3–7 year old children. False belief bias was related to Change of Location task performance. False belief bias was unrelated to measures of inhibition. The continuous measure of false belief shows convergent and discriminant validity. In two studies, we examined young children’s performance on the paper-and-pencil version of the Sandbox task, a continuous measure of false belief, and its relations with other false belief and inhibition tasks. In Study 1, 96 children aged 3 to 7years completed three false belief tasks (Sandbox, Unexpected Contents, and Appearance/Reality) and two inhibition tasks (Head–Shoulders–Knees–Toes and Grass/Snow). Results revealed that false belief bias—a measure of egocentrism—on the Sandbox task correlated with age but not with the Unexpected Contents or Appearance/Reality task or with measures of inhibition after controlling for age. In Study 2, 90 3- to 7-year-olds completed five false belief tasks (Sandbox, Unexpected Contents, Appearance/Reality, Change of Location, and a second-order false belief task), two inhibition tasks (Simon Says and Grass/Snow), and a receptive vocabulary task (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test). Results showed that false belief bias on the Sandbox task correlated negatively with age and with the Change of Location task but not with the other false belief or inhibition tasks after controlling for age and receptive vocabulary. The Sandbox task shows promise as an age-sensitive measure of false belief performance during early childhood and shows convergent and discriminant validity.