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The problems with linguistic credibility assessment of children. Megan P. Y. Sim, Michael E. Lamb University of Cambridge 4 th Annual iIIRG conference June 2, 2011. Police interviewing and interrogations. Procedure Where does credibility assessment play a role?. Credibility assessment.

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The problems with linguistic credibility assessment of children

The problems with linguistic credibility assessment of children

Megan P. Y. Sim, Michael E. Lamb

University of Cambridge

4th Annual iIIRG conference

June 2, 2011


Police interviewing and interrogations
Police interviewing and interrogations children

  • Procedure

  • Where does credibility assessment play a role?


Credibility assessment
Credibility assessment children

  • Criteria-based content analysis (CBCA)

  • Reality monitoring (RM)

  • Behaviour analysis interview (BAI)

  • Linguistic inquiry word count (LIWC)


Linguistic inquiry word count
Linguistic Inquiry Word Count children

  • LIWC & children’s statements

  • Children’s credible and doubtful statements

  • Children’s truthful and untruthful accounts of bullying

  • Children’s mock courtroom testimony



Present study goals
Present study goals children

  • Using LIWC to study children’s statements

  • Understand children’s normative linguistic styles

    • Motivational factors


Research questions
Research questions children

  • Do motivational factors affect linguistic aspects of children’s disclosure?

  • How do these motivational factors affect children’s accounts?


Method
Method children

  • Cases

    • 97 interviews with alleged victims conducted by police officers in Britain (Lamb et al., 2009)

    • Age: 4 to 13 years (M = 9.3, SD = 2.58)


Method1
Method children

  • Transcript preparation

    • Accurate transcripts

    • Identifying information deleted

    • Further modifications according to LIWC manual

    • Substantive portion of interview

    • Child’s statements


Motivational factors
Motivational factors children

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Relationship to suspect

  • Abuse type

  • Number of incidents of abuse

  • Interview type


Analyses
Analyses children

  • Analyses focused on group differences in factors that might affect children’s motivation and cooperation

    • Age group

    • Gender

    • Relationship to suspect

    • Abuse type

    • Number of incidents

    • Interview type


Analyses1
Analyses children

  • Examined the children’s use of

    • First-person singular pronouns

    • Third-person pronouns

    • Affective processes

      • Negative emotion words

    • Exclusive words

    • Perceptual processes

      • Feel words

    • Motion words

    • Space words

    • Time words

    • Insight

    • Total word count


Analyses2
Analyses children

  • Examined the children’s use of

    • First-person singular pronouns

    • Third-person pronouns

    • Affective processes

      • Negative emotion words

    • Exclusive words

    • Perceptual processes

      • Feel words

    • Motion words

    • Space words

    • Time words

    • Insight

    • Total word count


Analyses3
Analyses children

  • Examined the children’s use of

    • First-person singular pronouns

    • Third-person pronouns

    • Affective processes

      • Negative emotion words

    • Exclusive words

    • Perceptual processes

      • Feel words

    • Motion words

    • Space words

    • Time words

    • Insight words

    • Total word count


Research questions1
Research questions children

  • Do motivational factors affect linguistic aspects of children’s disclosure?

  • How do these motivational factors affect children’s accounts?


Results age effects
Results – Age effects children

  • Total word count

    χ2(2) = 24.87, p < .001

  • Exclusive words

    F(2, 94) = 7.36, p = .001, ω2 = .12

  • Motion words

    χ2(2) = 7.53, p < .05

  • Insight words

    χ2(2) = 6.29, p < .05


Results gender
Results – Gender children

  • Motion words

    U = 414.00, z = - 2.524, p = .012


Results relationship to suspect
Results – Relationship to suspect children

  • Negative emotion words

    F (3, 93) = 5.801, p = .001


Results abuse type
Results – Abuse type children

  • No differences


Results number of incidents
Results – Number of incidents children

  • Motion words

    U = 677.500, z = - 2.000, p = .046


Results interview type
Results – Interview type children

  • Motion words

    U = 730.55, z = - 3.215, p = .001

  • Time words

    U = 892.00, z = - 2.049, p = .04


Discussion
Discussion children

  • Group differences exist

    • Age groups most robust

  • Credibility assessment of children using LIWC

    • Misleading?


Caveats
Caveats children

  • Ground truth

  • Matched sample of doubtful cases


Acknowledgements
Acknowledgements children

  • The forensic child lab at the University of Cambridge

  • The children and interviewers participating in this study

  • The Gates Cambridge Trust for their generous funding

  • Joseph Bonneau for his programming assistance


Questions thank you
Questions? children Thank you!

For more details and questions please contact Megan Sim

[email protected]


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