Topic: Adult’s belief on children’s memory

  1. Introduction
    There have lots of study investigated the variables that affecting children’s memory in different situation, for example, the time interval of between the events and the interview and the confidence-accuracy relationship. But one thing has always been neglects is the people’s belief on children’s memory, and that is one of the major factors which affect the final decision made by the judge or the jury on whether the information provided by the children witnesses would be considered as evidence or not in the real-life legal setting. And this study investigated adult’s belief on children’s memory.
  2. Summary
    In most cases, children are the only witness of homicidal violence or abusing which makes their testimony become extremely important, and for legal and clinical purposes, it is important to improve people’s understanding in children’s memory. This study is focusing on adult’s belief on children’s memory in three different aspects, including the nature of the event, single or repeated events and the age difference.

Children’s memory on negative, positive and neutral events
In the legal setting, children are involved mostly as the eyewitnesses or the victim of the instance, and they are often the only witness of the events. These kinds of events the children had experienced might be highly stressful for them and it is categories as negative events in this study. Therefore, it is important to understand whether the nature of the events would influence the children’s memory, and there are many studies have investigated that. But there has an inconsistency results among different research which studies children’s memory on stressful events. Some of the research has reported a negative relationship between children’s memory and negative events (Peters, 1991; Merrit et al., 1994), while other researchers have indicated a positive relationship (Goodman et al., 1991). In contrast with the view that stress will damage memory (Loftus, 1979; Kassin, Ellsworth and Smith, 1989), the study conducted by Shrimpton et al., (1998) has shown that children’s memory on stressful events are as good as their memory on non-stressful events which is consistent with Goodman et al. (1991) study. Research by Shrimpton et al., (1998) also indicated that children who has experienced the stressful event were less likely to be misled by the suggestive question and have less incorrect answer in the free recall session. Moreover, Bray et al. (2018) has foundthat there has no different on the accuracy of the memory for unique events regardless the nature of the events. However, recent studies have shown that many people have beliefs which are different from the current knowledge of children’s memory research even as a professional, for example, Chartered Clinical Psychologists, unchartered therapists (hypnotherapists), and undergraduate psychology students (Ost et al., 2017). The study shown that even among well-trained and experienced clinical psychologists, some false beliefs on memory appear to exist. According to Marr et al. (2021), there has the same tendency among the laypeople. From the result of the survey, most laypeople believed that high levels of stress impaired eyewitnesses’ memory and only about third of them believed that moderate levels of stress could enhance memory compared with low levels of stress. And this kind of beliefs might be formed by people’s bias of stress, based on the nature of stress, laypeople tend to consider stress as a negative experience and memory will impaired by any level of stress.

Children’s memory on single and repeated events
As mentioned, when children being an eyewitness or a victim in the court, they are involved in the violence or other forms of traumatic instance most of the time, and these kinds of instance are mostly happened repeatedly. When comparing children’s memory for repeated events and single events, there are few theories are used to explain the difference. One of the widely used theory is the Script Theory. The Script Theory suggested that after experienced a similar event repeatedly, that person might develop a schematic memory of the events, a script or a schema of the events is created by the person who experienced the repeated events (Hintzman, 1986; Hudson et al., 1992). A script or schemas are an ordered knowledge structure that included the typical person who is involved in the events, typical action that person did in the events, and the typical object in the events (Hudson & Mayhew, 2009). It also reflects the person’s understanding of the occasional sequence of the events which typically happen within that schema (Farrar & Goodman, 1992). Farrar & Goodman (1992) has stated that even the children are as young as three years old, after they have experienced the events repeatedly, they will then be able to create a schematic memory and develop a script.

In a legal setting, when a child had experienced repeated abused, they are often required to report details of a particular instance across the series of events (Guadagno, Powell, & Wright, 2006; Lamb et al., 2007). However, the script created by the eyewitnesses might be problematic in the legal setting when eyewitnesses is testifying for a repeated crime because they might be asked to provide information for a specific target event, and they might rely on and retrieve information from the script they had created rather than retrieving information from that particular

Type of service: Rewriting
Type of assignment: Dissertation
Subject: Psychology
Pages/words: 6/1500
Number of sources: 15
Academic level: Senior(College 4th year)
Paper format: APA
Line Spacing: Double
Language Style: AU English

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