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The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

On-line version ISSN 1989-4007Print version ISSN 1889-1861


KNUTSSON, Jens  and  MARTIN ALLWOOD, Carl. Opinions of legal professionals: comparing child and adult witnesses' memory report capabilities. The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context [online]. 2014, vol.6, n.2, pp.79-89. ISSN 1989-4007.

The opinions of legal professionals about child and adult witnesses might influence the likelihood that a case is allowed to proceed through the different stages of the legal process. With the aim of knowing the opinions of legal practitioners about child and adult witnesses, 84 legal professionals (Swedish police, prosecutors, and attorneys) were surveyed about their beliefs about child and adult eyewitness memory (and metamemory) abilities. The respondents answered 27 questions relating to nine forensically relevant belief areas in which they compared the memory ability of children (ages 7 to 11 years) and adults. The results showed no differences in assessment among members of different professions and a general trend suggesting that, across the professions, children were believed to be poorer witnesses than adults regarding their memory abilities. Moreover, the professionals' within-group consensus was very low. These results are discussed in the context of eyewitness research findings and with respect to the implications for both legal and research practice.

Keywords : Eyewitnesses; Legal professionals; Opinions; Children; Adults; Event memory; Metamemory.

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