Evija Strika, Raitis Eglītis


Suggestibility is the degree to which someone res­ponds to and is influenced by suggestions made by someone or something. Scientific studies have shown that suggestibility most often correlates with memory processing, false memory and false confession phe­nomena and is crucial to child testimony and forensic psychological examination.

Traditionally, there are two general suggestibility re­search approaches: the experimental psychology and the individual difference approach. Experimentally designed studies reflect the effects of misinformation – conditions under which suggestions affect recall of events. The individual difference approach seeks to identify people as being more or less suggestible, re­lating different degrees of suggestibility with several cognitive and personality variables. Both approaches suggest that certain social, cognitive and psycholo­gical factors affect the accuracy of a person`s report (testimony).

The current article will focus primary on the accuracy of children reports in the context of forensic psycho­logical examination. The inaccuracy can be due to unconscious assimilation of false suggestions and pressure made by those (usually adults) who have access to the child (suggestibility) or to conscious lies on the part of the child. Some data extractions from research in relation to factors affecting the accuracy of children`s reports during forensic psychological examinations and overall children`s testimonies will be provided. In this context, a case study from fo­rensic psychological examination will be discussed.

Keyword(s): child testimony, suggestibility, interviewer pressure, demographic factors, cognitive factors, psychosocial factors.
DOI: 10.5200/sm-hs.2018.048
Full TextPDF