The purpose and objective of this paper is to study child suggestibility and how it affects a minors (a minor in this case will be used to refer to children) (Rowley, 2000). The arguments herein are grounded on forensic psychology. Child suggestibility is the tendency of young witness to recount non-existent events; this can be based on suggestions that are received from the adults who interview them. Child suggestibility is a very strong theme in witness psychology. In the past years, research has increased on the study of child memory. The principle basis for doubting credibility of children rests on two assumptions, that children memory are not good, and that children memory are vulnerable to suggestibility.
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In the field of forensic psychology, testimony of minors is always required in some of the cases, for example, sexual abuse cases. In some cases, however, the children are not the victims but the witness of the crimes. Children can suffer trauma of abuse; often, different people through their ways of intervention, add the trauma. The police officers, the judges, parents and even social workers interview children repeatedly after a certain occurrence, for example, a sexual abuse (Folwey, 2007). Children hence, become very perturbed during the forensic interviews; this is due to the precarious psychophysical balance. If a child is interviewed poorly, it can result to a criminal, who has committed serious crime against the minor, walking free.
Child suggestibility indicates that at times, adults can lead minors to recount events that actually did not take place. This will be based on the questions that are asked during the interviews. Hence, the interviewer asks suggestive questions. In such scenarios, facts about an abuse may be planted. These may become false allegations that can lead to apprehension of unjustly accused adult. A historical psychological review done by forensic psychologists, suggests that children give wrong answers due to memory gap. Thechildren try to fill in these spaces by pleasing the interviewer. This prompts them to accept the interviewer’s opinions.
In learning about suggestibility, my interest is on the effects of an interviewer on children reports. Suggestive biased interviews have an impact as they produce inaccurate reports from the minors (Sundel, 2004). If interviewer uses an emotional tone, much information is conveyed. If an interviewer uses an accusatory tone, then the child fabricates an answer of a past event. The child peers also influence witnessing in that children sometimes give answers to certain cases depending on how their friends answered those cases.
Minors often succumb to suggestions when they are young. When minors are interviewed overtime, they can also be easily swayed. Often enough the children may feel very intimated by adult interviewers. At this stage, they may give incorrect witnessing; they may also want to impress, hence, will be tempted to give wrong information. Suggestibility is a very interesting topic to study. The reason I picked it as my theme is because it helps one understand the cognitive factors that influence children’s tendency to suggestibility. Some of the factors that influence children tendency to suggestibility include use of language, memory ability, intelligence and prior knowledge.
The reason for presentation of this topic is because a great deal of attention has recently been focused on children memory; concern for this emanates from the fact that, children abuse has increased in the last two decades. Many people have reacted toward this and wanted to know it dependability. Some researchers have argued that children memory is dependable and resistant to suggestibility. Hence, in presenting information on the paper, unreliability of children as witness is shown, due to factors that make them incorporate information suggested by the interviewer in their memory.