The Benefits of Positive Parenting, Children’s Memory May Be More Reliable Than Adults’ In Court Cases
February 21, 2013 Comments Off on The Benefits of Positive Parenting, Children’s Memory May Be More Reliable Than Adults’ In Court Cases
The Benefits of Positive Parenting
By DAVID BORNSTEIN February 20, 2013
Is there a science to parenting?
For all the current discussion in the United States about gun violence and mental illness, there has been little attention paid to root causes. Any effort aiming to reduce gun violence — or child abuse, intimate partner violence, suicide or sexual abuse — must include a serious discussion about how society can improve the quality of parenting.
In 2010, children’s protective service agencies investigated 1.8 million referrals of child abuse and neglect pertaining to 3 million children. Although only 20 percent of these were substantiated, researchers report that physical abuse, including harsh physical discipline that is equivalent to abuse, is vastly underreported and may be 20 times more prevalent than is reflected in official statistics. (In other countries, including Spain, India and Egypt, harsh punishment is even more prevalent.) In Philadelphia, this behavior has recently been linked to the recession and the rate of mortgage foreclosures. When lenders put people out of their homes, one unforeseen consequence is that more kids end up with traumatic brain injuries.
It is now well accepted that children’s protective service agencies is not only less effective than other non-coercive methods, it is more harmful than has often been understood — and not just to children. A review of two decades worth of studies has shown that corporal punishment is associated with antisocial behavior and aggression in children, and later in life is linked to depression, unhappiness, anxiety, drug and alcohol use and psychological maladjustment. Beyond beating, parents can also hurt children by humiliating them, labeling them in harmful ways (“Why are you so stupid?”), or continually criticizing their behavior….
Children’s Memory May Be More Reliable Than Adults’ In Court Cases
Mar. 17, 2008 — The U.S. legal system has long assumed that all testimony is not equally credible, that some witnesses are more reliable than others. In tough cases with child witnesses, it assumes adult witnesses to be more reliable. But what if the legal system had it wrong?….
They say children depend more heavily on a part of the mind that records, “what actually happened,” while adults depend more on another part of the mind that records, “the meaning of what happened.” As a result, they say, adults are more susceptible to false memories, which can be extremely problematic in court cases…..
This research shows that meaning-based memories are largely responsible for false memories, especially in adult witnesses. Because the ability to extract meaning from experience develops slowly, children are less likely to produce these false memories than adults, and are more likely to give accurate testimony when properly questioned.
February 19, 2011 Comments Off on Lawsuit Says Military Is Rife With Sexual Abuse, suggestibility research
Lawsuit Says Military Is Rife With Sexual Abuse
By ASHLEY PARKER February 15, 2011
WASHINGTON — A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses the Department of Defense of allowing a military culture that fails to prevent rape and sexual assault, and of mishandling cases that were brought to its attention, thus violating the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.
The suit — brought by 2 men and 15 women, both veterans and active-duty service members — specifically claims that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld, “ran institutions in which perpetrators were promoted and where military personnel openly mocked and flouted the modest Congressionally mandated institutional reforms.”
It also says the two defense secretaries failed “to take reasonable steps to prevent plaintiffs from being repeatedly raped, sexually assaulted and sexually harassed by federal military personnel.”
Myla Haider, a former Army sergeant and a plaintiff in the suit, said she was raped in 2002 while interning in Korea with the military’s Criminal Investigative Command. “It is an atmosphere of zero accountability in leadership, period,” she said an interview.
Ms. Haider, who appeared with other plaintiffs at a news conference earlier Tuesday at the National Press Club, said: “The policies that are put in place are extremely ineffectual. There was severe maltreatment in these cases, and there was no accountability whatsoever. And soldiers in general who make any type of complaint in the military are subject to retaliation and have no means of defending themselves.”….
Geoff Morrell, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement that “sexual assault is a wider societal problem” and that Mr. Gates was working to ensure that the military was “doing all it can to prevent and respond to it.”….
Though the suit, which was filed in Federal District Court in Virginia, seeks monetary damages, those involved with the case said their goal was an overhaul of the military’s judicial system regarding rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
APPLYING SUGGESTIBILITY RESEARCH TO THE REAL WORLD: THE CASE OF REPEATED QUESTIONS
THOMAS D. LYON Cited: 65 Law & Contemp. Probs. 97 (Winter 2002)
….With respect to the psychology of child witnesses, this article will consider the application of the research literature on repeated questions to sexual abuse cases. It will review the entire corpus of research on repeated questions and apply that research to State v. Larson.
The article will argue that the risks of question repetition have been exaggerated. The leading research on repeated questions does not support a claim that repetition increases error. Whether repetition leads to inconsistency depends on the types of questions asked, the age of the child, and the child’s memory of the event. Most important, researchers ignore the potential effects of repetition on false denials, emphasizing instead the risk that repetition will lead to false allegations….
The distinction between repeating questions within interviews rather than across interviews is important.71 Repeated questions within interviews may lead to error because of the child’s perception that a different response is expected. Repeating questions across interviews may also lead to increased error, but for different reasons: Children forget over time, so that later interviews are more error-filled, and children may confuse what actually occurred with their responses in earlier interviews.
On the other hand, repeating questions across interviews may decrease error. Repetition is a form of rehearsal, which strengthens memory, and children may recall new details during subsequent interviews (something memory researchers call “reminiscence”).72 Therefore, errors across interviews do not tell us whether children will err within an interview….
The two Poole and White studies provide little evidence that non-abused children are likely to fabricate abuse allegations in response to repeated yes/no [*pg 111] questions. Although the youngest children in the first study were more likely than older subjects to change their answers when questions were repeated, the follow-up study found no distinction among age groups. Even in the first study, the youngest subjects were no more likely than adults to claim after repeated questions that something anti-social had occurred.
Rather, the studies suggest that children, like adults, are reluctant to accuse others of wrongdoing, at least when the interaction is ambiguous or difficult to recall. These findings do not argue against the reliability of an abuse allegation in response to a repeated question….
Children with stronger memories are less susceptible to repeated questions. Several of the studies discussed in the previous section found that children who recalled more were less likely to change their answers to repeated questions.141 Christine Ricci and Carol Beal repeated wh- questions (general, specific, and suppositional) and found that “none of the children who were initially accurate later answered inaccurately when the question was repeated a second time.”142 The effects of certainty were anticipated by the Piagetian research on children’s understanding of number: Gelman and her colleagues found that if children counted an array of objects three times rather than once (thus increasing their confidence in their answer), they were less swayed by a suggestive request to count again….
Evidence that repetition increases error is remarkably hard to find. As noted above, repeated open-ended questions do not decrease accuracy….Children are reluctant to disclose abuse….The evidence that repetition undermines accuracy is weaker than it first appears, and the ways that repetition may increase accuracy have been ignored.