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Cross-examining suggestibility: memory, childhood, expertise - children’s testimony between psychological research and juridical practice

By Johanna Motzkau


Although research into children’s eyewitness testimony has become more and more refined findings do not translate smoothly into practice. While competing scientific approaches produce complex results, practice is haunted by polarised debates that divert attention away from child witnesses or even undermine their position. In this paper I argue that an overall lack of concern for the reciprocal relationships between juridical, psychological and public discourses is responsible for this dynamic, which is furthermore fuelled by the fact that the concept of suggestibility has always remained an ill-defined entity. To address this problem I will introduce a multidisciplinary research perspective that is aimed to add transparency to the field by analysing the counterproductive dynamics between theory and application on an international level. Child witness research and practice in Britain and Germany are examined as comparative 'case examples' via in-depth interviews with academic, psychological and juridical professionals who work in the field

Publisher: Krakow: Institute of Forensic Research Publishers
Year: 2005
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Provided by: Open Research Online

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