Publications and Research

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-5-2012

Abstract

Why are young children particularly prone to make false positive errors or false alarms when identifying a wrongdoer? In three studies the problem was approached using a signal detection analysis, focusing on the moral costs of false alarms, as understood at different points in development. The findings are: (1) decisional criteria became more conservative, indicating fewer false alarms, with age in three studies, (2) children’s beliefs about the seriousness of false alarms and misses changed from (a) a non-moral concern to (b) a moral concern for false negatives or misses to (c) a moral concern for false alarms. (3) These findings were replicated in two demographically different communities. More critically, (4) how the filmed event is framed e.g., as a moral transgression (stealing) or a pro-social (helping) act (Study 1); and as intentional with little damage or unintentional with major damage (Study 3), interacts with age in influencing decisional criteria.

Comments

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Spring, Toni, Herbert D. Saltzstein, and Roger Peach. "Children's Eyewitness Identification as Implicit Moral Decision-Making." Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 27, no. 2, 2013, pp. 139-149, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.2871. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Available for download on Thursday, November 25, 2021

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