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A Moral Developmental Perspective on Children's Eyewitness Identification: Does Intent Matter?

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Spring, Toni (City University of New York. Queens College)
  • Saltzstein, Herbert (City University of New York. Graduate Center)
  • Vidal, Bianca (City University of New York. Graduate Center)
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
children; crime; decision making
  • Abstract

    In study 1 eyewitness identification of the perpetrator of a 'crime' (fire), framed as either intended or unintended, was studied in 138 children, ages 7 to 18. Analysis using Signal Detection reveals an interaction of age and condition on decisional bias. Like in past studies, the framing of the act had no effect on the 7-9 year olds, but did have an effect on decisional bias for the other age groups. Decisional bias was more lax (indicting more false alarms) in the intended condition for 10-12 and 14-15 year olds but was more stringent (fewer false alarms) for the 16-18 year olds. This pattern of age and condition differs from the pattern of explicit judgments (how bad the act was, how much punishment it deserved, and how bad it is to commit a false alarm or a miss). Study 2 was conducted to confirm the unexpected findings for the 10-12 year olds. Forty-two children, ages 10-12 viewed the same film, which was framed as unintended, but, resulting either in (a) major or (b) minor damage (fire), approximately half randomly assigned to condition (a) and half to (b). Parallel results were obtained with an earlier study, with lower bias scores (more false alarms) in the major than minor damage conditions. Thus, from both studies, we may conclude that decisional bias is more lenient (resulting in more false alarms) for 10-12 year olds when either intent or damage is bad.
  • Methods

    Presence of Common Scales: Signal Detection
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • 2012 / 2013
    Time period: 2012--2013
  • 2012-09-12 / 2013-09-11
    Collection date: 2012-09-12--2013-09-11
Geographic Coverage
  • New York (state)
  • New York City
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Smallest Geographic Unit: County
Collection Mode
  • face-to-face interview

    Data and documentation for this collection (in SPSS format) are contained in a zipped package.

One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions; consult the study documentation to learn more on how to obtain the data.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 35477 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR35477.v1

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-16

Spring, Toni; Saltzstein, Herbert; Vidal, Bianca (2014): A Moral Developmental Perspective on Children's Eyewitness Identification: Does Intent Matter?. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.