Experts' and novices' abilities to detect children's high-stakes lies of omission

Kari L. Nysse-Carris, Bette L. Bottoms, Jessica M. Salerno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We investigated adults' abilities to detect lies told by 3- to 6-year-old children. Expert forensic interviewers and novices watched videotapes of children who either lied or told the truth about their parent's transgression, rendered a dichotomous judgment of whether the child lied, rated their confidence in that judgment, and rated the children on various characteristics. Adults detected lies with greater than chance-but not impressive-accuracy, regardless of expertise level. Older children's lies were more detectable by experts than were younger children's. Adults were more confident in their judgments about older than younger children. Confidence in lie/truth judgments was not significantly correlated with actual lie detection accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-98
Number of pages23
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Child witnesses
  • Deception detection
  • Legal testimony
  • Lying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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