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‘Look this way’: using gaze maintenance to facilitate the detection of children's false reports

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In two experiments, we investigated whether imposing a secondary task is an effective technique for detecting child deceit. First, 85 children aged 8 to 11 years old provided either a true or false report of a recent school event. At interview, some children were asked to gaze towards either the interviewer's face (IF) or a teddy bear's face (TF), whereas some children were given no gaze instruction. In both the IF and TF conditions, lie-tellers provided significantly fewer details than truth-tellers. A total of 192 adult evaluators then judged the credibility of 10 children's reports from one of the three ‘gaze’ conditions with and without guidance on level of detail. Evaluators discriminated truths from lies successfully when judging children instructed to look at IF, but not when children were asked to gaze towards TF. Evaluators who received guidance demonstrated better discrimination between true and false reports than evaluators who received no such information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-80
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date20 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2017


  • Look this way

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lawrence, H., Akehurst, L., Leach, A. -M., Cherryman, J., Vrij, A., Arathoon, M., and Vernham, Z. (2016) ‘Look This Way’: Using Gaze Maintenance to Facilitate the Detection of Children's False Reports. Appl. Cognit. Psychol., doi: 10.1002/acp.3303, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 395 KB, PDF document

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