Toronto Metropolitan University
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The role of motivation in children’s credulity toward false testimony

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posted on 2021-05-22, 13:25 authored by Adrianna Ruggiero
The present research examined the role of motivation in children’s credulity toward false testimony that contradicted their first-hand observations. Children observed an experimenter hide an object in one of three containers. Then, the experimenter provided false testimony about the hiding location of the object, and children were asked to retrieve the object on their own. In a Motivation condition, an object that children rated as desirable was hidden and a negatively framed consequence was presented. In a Baseline condition, children did not rate any objects and were not given a consequence. Overall, 3-year-olds were more credulous toward the false testimony than were 4-year-olds. In addition, 3-year-olds, but not 4-year-olds, were more resistant to the false testimony when exposed to motivating factors than when they were not. These findings can have real-world implications in forensic settings where children may serve as a source of eyewitness testimony. Key words: credulity, motivation, false testimony, first-hand observation





  • Master of Arts


  • Psychology

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis