Publications by authors named "Gail S Goodman"

68 Publications

Karen Jill Saywitz (1956-2018).

Am Psychol 2019 May-Jun;74(4):515

University of Illinois at Chicago.

Presents an obituary for Karen Jill Saywitz, who passed on March 17, 2018. Saywitz devoted her life to advancing children's mental health and children's "voice" in the legal system. She completed internship and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and became director of child and adolescent psychology at Harbor-UCLA. She returned to the main UCLA campus as professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. In February 2018, her research, clinical service, and advocacy on behalf of abused children and their families was recognized by the American Psychological Association's (APA) Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice (Division 37) with its highest honor, the Lifetime Advocacy Award. A month later, Karen lost her valiant fight against cancer. Through science, advocacy, and the translation of science into practice, Karen directly affected more child- and family-relevant laws, policies, and daily forensic practices than virtually anyone else in the field. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000360DOI Listing
May 2019

There is still no evidence that physical punishment is effective or beneficial: Reply to Larzelere, Gunnoe, Ferguson, and Roberts (2019) and Rohner and Melendez-Rhodes (2019).

Am Psychol 2019 May-Jun;74(4):503-505

Department of Psychology, Yale University.

The authors' original article (Gershoff et al., 2018) summarized the extensive body of research demonstrating that parents' use of physical punishment is ineffective and linked with risk of detrimental outcomes for children. In this Reply, the authors agree with several points raised in two commentaries on the article (Larzelere, Gunnoe, Ferguson, & Roberts, 2019; Rohner & Melendez-Rhodes, 2019)-that statistical rigor is needed before making conclusions and that potential contextual moderators need to be considered. However, neither commentary negated the scientific inferences and conclusions of the Gershoff et al. article or presented any convincing evidence that physical punishment is beneficial to children. The preponderance of evidence clearly indicates physical punishment is harmful, a finding that is increasingly being recognized by professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000474DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6557718PMC
December 2019

After Child Maltreatment: The Importance of Voice for Youth in Foster Care.

J Interpers Violence 2019 Feb 8:886260519825884. Epub 2019 Feb 8.

5 Texas Tech University, Lubbock, USA.

Once social services steps in to protect children from violence and neglect in their homes, many youth become wards of the specialized juvenile or family court that assists in child protection (e.g., the dependency court). Some of these children will be ordered into foster care. Within this "dependency system," such children often feel a lack of voice. This study tests the prediction that foster youth who perceive having more opportunity for voice, even indirectly via a representative, more favorably rate the dependency system. Adolescents ( n = 110), aged 17 years, involved in foster care and age-matched nonfoster youth rated "how good or bad the foster care/dependency court is for foster youth." The foster youth were also asked about their interactions with the court and with their attorney representatives. Foster and nonfoster youth did not significantly differ in dependency system ratings when considered at the overall group level. However, foster and nonfoster youth ratings significantly differed when foster youth's views of relevant prior legal experiences (e.g., frequency of child-attorney contact, quality of attorney representation) were taken into account: Youth with the highest perceived quality of experiences indicated more positive views than any other group. The importance of perceived quality of experience adds insight into mechanisms for improving adolescents' feelings of voice in the legal system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0886260519825884DOI Listing
February 2019

The strength of the causal evidence against physical punishment of children and its implications for parents, psychologists, and policymakers.

Am Psychol 2018 Jul-Aug;73(5):626-638

Department of Psychology, Yale University.

The question of whether physical punishment is helpful or harmful to the development of children has been subject to hundreds of research studies over the past several decades. Yet whether causal conclusions can be drawn from this largely nonexperimental research and whether the conclusions generalize across contexts are issues that remain unresolved. In this article, the authors summarize the extent to which the empirical research on physical punishment meets accepted criteria for causal inference. They then review research demonstrating that physical punishment is linked with the same harms to children as is physical abuse and summarize the extant research that finds links between physical punishment and detrimental outcomes for children are consistent across cultural, family, and neighborhood contexts. The strength and consistency of the links between physical punishment and detrimental child outcomes lead the authors to recommend that parents should avoid physical punishment, psychologists should advise and advocate against it, and policymakers should develop means of educating the public about the harms of and alternatives to physical punishment. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000327DOI Listing
October 2019

"I Didn't Do That!" Event Valence and Child Age Influence Adults' Discernment of Preschoolers' True and False Statements.

J Interpers Violence 2021 Jan 20;36(1-2):NP753-NP771. Epub 2017 Oct 20.

University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA.

Justice can hinge on adults' abilities to distinguish accurate from inaccurate child testimony. Yet relatively little is known about factors that affect adults' abilities to determine the accuracy of children's eyewitness reports. In this study, adults ( = 108) viewed videoclips of 3- and 5-year-olds answering open-ended and leading questions about positive and negative actually experienced ("true") events or never experienced ("false") events that the children either affirmed or denied. Analyses revealed that adults were more accurate at determining the veracity of negative compared with positive incidents, particularly when children said that they had experienced the event. Moreover, adults' accuracy was at chance for older children's false denials. Psycholegal implications are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0886260517736276DOI Listing
January 2021

Psychological counseling and accuracy of memory for child sexual abuse.

Am Psychol 2017 Dec;72(9):920-931

Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis.

Tens of thousands of child sexual abuse (CSA) cases are reported to authorities annually. Although some of the child victims obtain psychological counseling or therapy, controversy exists about the potential consequences for the accuracy of victims' memory of CSA, both in childhood and adulthood. Yet, delaying needed therapeutic intervention may have detrimental effects on the victims' well-being and recovery. To address this controversy, this study examined whether psychological counseling during a CSA prosecution predicts accuracy or inaccuracy of long-term memory for CSA. Participants (N = 71) were CSA victims who took part in a longitudinal study of memory and legal involvement. Data regarding participants' counseling attendance during the prosecution and details of their CSA cases were gathered throughout legal involvement and shortly thereafter (Time 1). Ten to 16 years later (Time 2), participants were questioned about a range of topics, including the alleged abuse. Time 1 counseling attendance significantly predicted more correct answers to abuse-related questions and (for corroborated cases) fewer overreporting responses at Time 2. Counseling was unrelated to underreporting responses. These results held even with other potential influences, such as abuse severity, victim-defendant relationship, posttraumatic stress disorder criteria met, testifying in the case, and delay, were statistically controlled. Although further research is needed, this study provides evidence that psychological counseling received by CSA victims during or shortly after prosecutions may improve later memory for abuse-related information. (PsycINFO Database Record
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000282DOI Listing
December 2017

Emotion Language in Trauma Narratives is Associated with Better Psychological Adjustment among Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

J Lang Soc Psychol 2017 Dec 28;36(6):628-653. Epub 2017 Apr 28.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 USA.

Traumatized individuals are often encouraged to confront their experiences by talking or writing about them. However, survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) might find it especially difficult to process abuse experiences, particularly when the abuse is more severe, which could put them at greater risk for mental health problems. The current study examined whether CSA survivors who use emotion language when describing their abuse experiences exhibit better mental health. We analyzed the trauma narratives of 55 adults who, as children, were part of a larger study of the long-term emotional effects of criminal prosecutions on CSA survivors. Abuse narratives were analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) program. We examined whether positive and negative emotion language in participants' abuse narratives were associated with self- and caregiver-reported mental health symptoms and whether these associations differed according to the severity of the abuse. As hypothesized, participants who used more positive and negative emotion language had better psychological outcomes, especially when the abuse was severe. Our findings suggest that survivors of more severe abuse might benefit from including emotion language, whether positive or negative in valence, when describing the abuse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0261927X17706940DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5701514PMC
December 2017

How children remember the Strange Situation: The role of attachment.

J Exp Child Psychol 2018 Feb 9;166:360-379. Epub 2017 Oct 9.

Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.

This study tested predictions from Bowlby's attachment theory about children's memory and suggestibility. Young children (3-5years old, N=88; 76% Caucasians) and their parents took part in the Strange Situation Procedure, a moderately distressing event and "gold standard" for assessing children's attachment quality. The children were then interviewed about what occurred during the event. Children's age and attachment security scores positively predicted correct information in free recall and accuracy in answering specific questions. For children with higher (vs. lower) attachment security scores, greater distress observed during the Strange Situation Procedure predicted increased resistance to misleading suggestions. In addition, for children who displayed relatively low distress during the Strange Situation Procedure, significant age differences in memory and suggestibility emerged as expected. However, for children who displayed greater distress during the Strange Situation Procedure, younger and older children's memory performances were equivalent. Findings suggest that attachment theory provides an important framework for understanding facets of memory development with respect to attachment-related information and that distress may alter assumed age patterns in memory development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2017.09.001DOI Listing
February 2018

Is There Consensus About Children's Memory and Suggestibility?

J Interpers Violence 2017 03;32(6):926-939

2 Howard University, Washington, DC, USA.

The modern scientific study of children's eyewitness memory was initially motivated, in important part, by the sensational preschool investigations and prosecutions of the 1980s and 1990s (e.g., the McMartin case, the Kelly Michaels case, the Country Walk case). These cases form the centerpiece of Professor Cheit's scholarly book, The Witch-Hunt Narrative. In recent years, researchers have made great strides in helping the legal system tackle some of the complex issues involved in child sexual abuse investigations. While commenting on Professor Cheit's book, we review areas of consensus regarding child forensic interviewing, areas of disconnect between scientific laboratory studies and needs of the legal system, and the potential effects of bias on the scientific enterprise relevant to Professor Cheit's treatise. Although we find that there is consensus in the field regarding a set of general principles, there is often room for disagreement in evaluating a particular case, and there is still much to be learned about how best to interview children when allegations of sexual abuse arise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0886260516657358DOI Listing
March 2017

Delay in disclosure of non-parental child sexual abuse in the context of emotional and physical maltreatment: A pilot study.

Child Abuse Negl 2016 Aug 2;58:149-59. Epub 2016 Jul 2.

University of Michigan, United States.

The present pilot study sought to identify predictors of delays in child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosure, specifically whether emotional and physical abuse by a parental figure contributes to predicting delays over and above other important victim factors. Alleged CSA victims (N=79), whose parental figures were not the purported sexual abuse perpetrators, were interviewed and their case files reviewed, across two waves of a longitudinal study. Regression analyses indicated that experiencing both emotional and physical abuse by a parental figure was uniquely predictive of longer delays in disclosure of CSA perpetrated by someone other than a parental figure. Victim-CSA perpetrator relationship type and sexual abuse duration also significantly predicted CSA disclosure delay, whereas victim age at the time of the police report, victim gender, and victims' feelings of complicity were not significant unique predictors. Child abuse victims' expectations of lack of parental support may underlie these findings. Parent-child relationships are likely crucial to timely disclosure of CSA, even when a parent is not the CSA perpetrator.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2016.06.020DOI Listing
August 2016

Getting to Know You: Familiarity, Stereotypes, and Children's Eyewitness Memory.

Behav Sci Law 2016 Jan;34(1):74-94

University of California, Davis.

The present study concerned how the acquisition of social information, specifically knowledge about personal characteristics, influences young children's memory and suggestibility. Effects of two sources of knowledge about a target person were systematically examined: familiarity and stereotypes. Children, aged 4-5 and 7-9 years (N = 145), were randomly assigned, per age group, to experimental conditions based on a familiarity (6 hours vs. no prior exposure) × stereotype (negative depiction as messy and clumsy vs. no stereotype) factorial design. Children then watched the target person engage in a target event (a series of contests) at a preschool ("Camp Ingrid"). The children's memory and suggestibility about the target person and target event were tested after a delay of 2 weeks. Results indicated that the negative stereotype resulted in an increase in children's correct responses both to free-recall stereotype-related questions (when children were unfamiliar with the target person) and to closed-ended questions overall (for younger children). However, the stereotype was associated with greater error to stereotype-related closed-ended questions. Moreover, familiarity increased children's accuracy to closed-ended questions. Implications for theory and application are discussed. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2233DOI Listing
January 2016

Developmental Differences across Middle Childhood in Memory and Suggestibility for Negative and Positive Events.

Behav Sci Law 2016 Jan;34(1):30-54

Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, CA.

In the present study, we investigated age differences in children's eyewitness memory and suggestibility for negative and positive events that children often experience during middle childhood. We first examined 216 ratings by children aged 8-12 years of the frequency and intensity of personal negative and positive experiences (Study 1). Based on those ratings, videotapes depicting the most frequent and intense negative (an accident) and positive (a family excursion) events were developed. A new sample of 227 children aged 8-12 years was tested for recognition memory of the videotapes using the three-stage post-event misinformation procedure (Study 2). Compared with 8- to 9-year-olds, 10- to 12-year-olds exhibited less memory malleability and less compliance with false information. Age improvements in recognition accuracy were also evident for children who watched the negative event, but not for those who watched the positive event. Compliance predicted misinformation effects, particularly in regard to peripheral details. Thus, using ecologically representative emotional events, age differences in suggestibility and memory accuracy emerged, especially for negative events.Theoretical and forensic implications concerning children's eyewitness memory and suggestibility are discussed. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2239DOI Listing
January 2016

Religion-Related Child Maltreatment: A Profile of Cases Encountered by Legal and Social Service Agencies.

Behav Sci Law 2015 Aug;33(4):561-79

University of California, Davis.

Religion can foster, facilitate, and be used to justify child maltreatment. Yet religion-related child abuse and neglect have received little attention from social scientists. We examined 249 cases of religion-related child maltreatment reported to social service agencies, police departments, and prosecutors' offices nationwide. We focused on cases involving maltreatment perpetrated by persons with religious authority, such as ministers and priests; the withholding of medical care for religious reasons; and abusive attempts to rid a child of supposed evil. By providing a descriptive statistical profile of the major features of these cases, we illustrate how these varieties of religion-related child maltreatment occur, who the victims and perpetrators are, and how religion-related child abuse and neglect are reported and processed by the social service and criminal justice systems. We end with a call for greater research attention to these important offenses against children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2192DOI Listing
August 2015

Gating Out Misinformation: Can Young Children Follow Instructions to Ignore False Information?

Behav Sci Law 2015 Aug;33(4):390-406

Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.

The current study investigated the effects of misinformation on children's memory reports after practice with the logic-of-opposition instruction at time of test. Four- and 6-year-old children participated in a play event in Session 1. During a two-week delay, parents presented their children with either misinformation or correct information about the play event. Prior to a memory interview in Session 2, some misled children were given a developmentally appropriate logic-of-opposition instruction to not report information provided by their parents. Results indicated that children were misled by the incorrect information, but that the logic-of-opposition instruction aided in the children's retrieval of the original memory, particularly for the 6-year-olds. Implications of the results for memory malleability and social demand effects in children are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2195DOI Listing
August 2015

Introduction to this Issue: Children's Eyewitness Memory and Testimony in Context.

Behav Sci Law 2015 Aug;33(4):367-71

Department of Psychology, University of California, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, California, 95616, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2196DOI Listing
August 2015

Coping style and memory specificity in adolescents and adults with histories of child sexual abuse.

Memory 2016 09 4;24(8):1078-90. Epub 2015 Aug 4.

e Department of Pediatrics , University of California , Davis , CA , USA.

Individuals with histories of childhood trauma may adopt a nonspecific memory retrieval strategy to avoid unpleasant and intrusive memories. In a sample of 93 adolescents and adults with or without histories of child sexual abuse (CSA), we tested the hypothesis that nonspecific memory retrieval is related to an individual's general tendency to use avoidant (i.e., distancing) coping as a personal problem-solving or coping strategy, especially in victims of CSA. We also examined age differences and other individual differences (e.g., trauma-related psychopathology) as predictors of nonspecific memories. Distancing coping was significantly associated with less specific autobiographical memory. Younger age, lower vocabulary scores, and non-CSA childhood maltreatment (i.e., physical and emotional abuse) also uniquely predicted less autobiographical memory specificity, whereas trauma-related psychopathology was associated with more specific memory. Implications for the development of autobiographical memory retrieval in the context of coping with childhood maltreatment are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1068812DOI Listing
September 2016

Child maltreatment, trauma-related psychopathology, and eyewitness memory in children and adolescents.

Behav Sci Law 2014 Nov-Dec;32(6):702-17

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Two experiments were conducted to examine eyewitness memory in children and adolescents (9- to 15-years-old) with and without known histories of maltreatment (e.g., physical abuse, exposure to domestic violence). In Experiment 1, participants (N = 35) viewed a positive film clip depicting a congenial interaction between family members. In Experiment 2, participants (N = 31) watched a negative film clip in which a family argument was shown. Younger age and higher levels of trauma-related psychopathology significantly predicted commission errors to direct questions when the positive family interaction had been viewed, but not when the negative family interaction had been shown. Maltreatment history was not a significant unique predictor of memory performance for the positive or negative film clip. Implications for a scientific understanding of the effects of child maltreatment on memory are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2143DOI Listing
September 2015

Child witnesses in the legal system: improving child interviews and understanding juror decisions.

Behav Sci Law 2014 Nov-Dec;32(6):681-5

Psychology Department, University of California, Davis, CA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2151DOI Listing
September 2015

Explaining gender differences in jurors' reactions to child sexual assault cases.

Behav Sci Law 2014 Nov-Dec;32(6):789-812. Epub 2014 Nov 28.

University of Illinois at Chicago, IL.

In three experiments, we investigated the influence of juror, victim, and case factors on mock jurors' decisions in several types of child sexual assault cases (incest, day care, stranger abduction, and teacher-perpetrated abuse). We also validated and tested the ability of several scales measuring empathy for child victims, children's believability, and opposition to adult/child sex, to mediate the effect of jurors' gender on case judgments. Supporting a theoretical model derived from research on the perceived credibility of adult rape victims, women compared to men were more empathic toward child victims, more opposed to adult/child sex, more pro-women, and more inclined to believe children generally. In turn, women (versus men) made more pro-victim judgments in hypothetical abuse cases; that is, attitudes and empathy generally mediated this juror gender effect that is pervasive in this literature. The experiments also revealed that strength of case evidence is a powerful factor in determining judgments, and that teen victims (14 years old) are blamed more for sexual abuse than are younger children (5 years old), but that perceptions of 5 and 10 year olds are largely similar. Our last experiment illustrated that our findings of mediation generalize to a community member sample.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2147DOI Listing
September 2015

Children's memory and suggestibility about a distressing event: the role of children's and parents' attachment.

J Exp Child Psychol 2014 Jul 3;123:90-111. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA 95816, USA.

Our goal was to identify individual difference predictors of children's memory and suggestibility for distressing personally experienced events. Specifically, we examined children's and parents' attachment orientations and children's observable levels of distress, as well as other individual difference factors, as predictors of children's memory and suggestibility. Children (N=91) aged 3 to 6years were interviewed about inoculations received at medical clinics. For children whose parents scored as more avoidant, higher distress levels during the inoculations predicted less accuracy, whereas for children whose parents scored as less avoidant, higher distress levels predicted greater accuracy. Children with more rather than less positive representations of parents and older rather than younger children answered memory questions more accurately. Two children provided false reports of child sexual abuse. Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2014.01.005DOI Listing
July 2014

Children's perceived emotional behavior at disclosure and prosecutors' evaluations.

Child Abuse Negl 2014 Sep 25;38(9):1521-32. Epub 2014 Mar 25.

University of California, Davis, USA.

The present study investigated the perceived emotional behavior of alleged child victims when disclosing sexual abuse in a forensic interview. It also addressed whether the perceived emotional behavior influenced prosecutors' evaluations of children's potential as witnesses and prosecutors' recommendations to press charges. Ninety-eight videotapes of forensic interviews with alleged child sexual abuse victims (4- to 17-year-olds) were coded for behavioral indicators of emotions. Case file information and district attorney evaluations were also coded. Results indicated that children were not generally perceived as being emotional (e.g., sad) during disclosure. However, the perceived intensity of expressed emotions was greater when children disclosed the alleged abuse compared to when they discussed more neutral topics in rapport building. Greater perceived emotional withdrawal by children at disclosure was associated with more negative evaluations of child witnesses by prosecutors. Moreover, children's emotional behaviors, as noted by prosecutors, were among the predictors of prosecutors' recommendations to file charges. Practical implications are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.02.010DOI Listing
September 2014

Repeated interviews about repeated abuse: evaluation of a case study.

Child Abuse Negl 2014 Feb 15;38(2):212-6. Epub 2014 Feb 15.

University of California, Davis, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.01.001DOI Listing
February 2014

Adult eyewitness memory and compliance: effects of post-event misinformation on memory for a negative event.

Behav Sci Law 2013 Sep-Oct;31(5):541-58. Epub 2013 Sep 11.

University of California, Davis, CA, U.S.A.; Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL), Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain.

This study investigated effects of misleading post-event information, delay, and centrality definition on eyewitness memory and suggestibility for a negative event (a vividly filmed murder). Either immediately or 2 weeks after viewing the film, 93 adults read a (misleading or control) narrative about the event and then completed a recognition memory test. Misinformation acceptance was operative, but strong evidence for memory malleability was lacking. Compliance predicted misinformation effects, especially on the delayed test. Although accuracy was generally higher for central than peripheral information, centrality criteria influenced the pattern of results. Self-report of greater distress was associated with better recognition accuracy. The results suggest that use of different centrality definitions may partly explain inconsistencies across studies of memory and suggestibility for central and peripheral information. Moreover, social factors appeared, at least in part, to influence misinformation effects for the highly negative event, especially as memory faded. Implications for eyewitness memory and suggestibility are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2081DOI Listing
May 2014

Memory for child sexual abuse information: simulated memory error and individual differences.

Mem Cognit 2014 Jan;42(1):151-63

Department of Psychology, University of California, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA, 95616, USA.

Building on the simulated-amnesia work of Christianson and Bylin (Applied Cognitive Psychology, 13, 495-511, 1999), the present research introduces a new paradigm for the scientific study of memory of childhood sexual abuse information. In Session 1, participants mentally took the part of an abuse victim as they read an account of the sexual assault of a 7-year-old. After reading the narrative, participants were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions: They (1) rehearsed the story truthfully (truth group), (2) left out the abuse details of the story (omission group), (3) lied about the abuse details to indicate that no abuse had occurred (commission group), or (4) did not recall the story during Session 1 (no-rehearsal group). One week later, participants returned for Session 2 and were asked to truthfully recall the narrative. The results indicated that, relative to truthful recall, untruthful recall or no rehearsal at Session 1 adversely affected memory performance at Session 2. However, untruthful recall resulted in better memory than did no rehearsal. Moreover, gender, PTSD symptoms, depression, adult attachment, and sexual abuse history significantly predicted memory for the childhood sexual abuse scenario. Implications for theory and application are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13421-013-0345-2DOI Listing
January 2014

Autobiographical memory specificity in child sexual abuse victims.

Dev Psychopathol 2013 May;25(2):321-32

Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.

The present study examined the specificity of autobiographical memory in adolescents and adults with versus without child sexual abuse (CSA) histories. Eighty-five participants, approximately half of whom per age group had experienced CSA, were tested on the autobiographical memory interview. Individual difference measures, including those for trauma-related psychopathology, were also administered. Findings revealed developmental differences in the relation between autobiographical memory specificity and CSA. Even with depression statistically controlled, reduced memory specificity in CSA victims relative to controls was observed among adolescents but not among adults. A higher number of posttraumatic stress disorder criteria met predicted more specific childhood memories in participants who reported CSA as their most traumatic life event. These findings contribute to the scientific understanding of childhood trauma and autobiographical memory functioning and underscore the importance of considering the role of age and degree of traumatization within the study of autobiographical memory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954579412001083DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3794469PMC
May 2013

Children's memories of removal: a test of attachment theory.

J Trauma Stress 2013 Feb 31;26(1):125-33. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

We report a study of parents' attachment orientations and children's autobiographical memory for an experience that according to Bowlby's (1982) attachment theory should be particularly threatening-children's forced separation from their parents. It was hypothesized that individual differences in parents' attachment orientations would be associated with children's distress and memory for this highly traumatic event. Children (n = 28) were observed during forced removal from home or school by Child Protective Services due to allegations of child maltreatment. Children's memory for the removal was tested 1 week later, and biological parents (n = 28) completed an adult attachment measure. Parental attachment anxiety significantly predicted children's distress during less stressful phases of the removal, R(2) = .25, and parents' attachment-related avoidance predicted fewer correct memory reports from the children (i.e., fewer hits to open-ended questions, R(2) = .16, and fewer hits to direct questions, R(2) = .27). The findings indicate that attachment theory provides important guidance for understanding children's autobiographical memory for traumatic events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jts.21784DOI Listing
February 2013

Children's Memory for Their Mother's Murder: Accuracy, Suggestibility, and Resistance to Suggestion.

Memory 2013 Jul 31;21(5):591-598. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

a Department of Psychology , University of California , Davis , CA , USA.

From its inception, child eyewitness memory research has been guided by dramatic legal cases that turn on the testimony of children. Decades of scientific research reveal that, under many conditions, children can provide veracious accounts of traumatic experiences. Scientific studies also document factors that lead children to make false statements. In this paper we describe a legal case in which children testified about their mother's murder. We discuss factors that may have influenced the accuracy of the children's eyewitness memory. Children's suggestibility and resistance to suggestion are illustrated. Expert testimony, based on scientific research, can aid the trier of fact when children provide crucial evidence in criminal investigations and courtroom trials about tragic events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2013.763983DOI Listing
July 2013

Children's and adults' memory for emotional pictures: examining age-related patterns using the Developmental Affective Photo System.

J Exp Child Psychol 2013 Feb 26;114(2):339-56. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Department of Psychology and Center for Public Policy Research, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Two studies were conducted to examine theoretical questions about children's and adults' memory for emotional visual stimuli. In Study 1, 7- to 9-year-olds and adults (N=172) participated in the initial creation of the Developmental Affective Photo System (DAPS). Ratings of emotional valence, arousal, and complexity were obtained. In Study 2, DAPS pictures were presented to 20 8- to 12-year-olds and 30 adults, followed by a recognition memory test. Children and adults recognized aversive images better than neutral images. Moreover, children and adults recognized high and moderate arousal images more accurately than low arousal images. Adults' memory for neutral images exceeded that of children, but there were no developmental differences in memory for aversive pictures. Theoretical and methodological implications are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2012.08.004DOI Listing
February 2013

"That never happened": adults' discernment of children's true and false memory reports.

Law Hum Behav 2012 Oct 21;36(5):365-74. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and University ofCalifornia, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Adults' evaluations of children's reports can determine whether legal proceedings are undertaken and whether they ultimately lead to justice. The current study involved 92 undergraduates and 35 laypersons who viewed and evaluated videotaped interviews of 3- and 5-year-olds providing true or false memory reports. The children's reports fell into the following categories based on a 2 (event type: true vs. false) × 2 (child report: assent vs. denial) factorial design: accurate reports, false reports, accurate denials, and false denials. Results revealed that adults were generally better able to correctly judge accurate reports, accurate denials, and false reports compared with false denials: For false denials, adults were, on average, "confident" that the event had not occurred, even though the event had in fact been experienced. Participant age predicted performance. These findings underscore the greater difficulty adults have in evaluating young children's false denials compared with other types of reports. Implications for law-related situations in which adults are called upon to evaluate children's statements are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0093920DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4128829PMC
October 2012

Autobiographical memory development from an attachment perspective: the special role of negative events.

Adv Child Dev Behav 2011 ;40:1-49

DEpartment of Psychology, University of California, Davis, California, USA.

The authors propose a novel model of autobiographical memory development that features the fundamental role of attachment orientations and negative life events. In the model, it is proposed that early autobiographical memory derives in part from the need to express and remember negative experiences, a need that has adaptive value, and that attachment orientations create individual differences in children's recollections of negative experiences. Specifically, the role of attachment in the processing of negative information is discussed in regard to the mnemonic stages of encoding, storage, and retrieval. This model sheds light on several areas of contradictory data in the memory development literature, such as concerning earliest memories and children's and adults' memory/suggestibility for stressful events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-386491-8.00001-3DOI Listing
September 2011