Warren, K.L., Dodd, E., Raynor, G., & Peterson, C. (2012). Detecting children’s lies: Comparing true accounts about highly stressful injuries with unprepared, prepared, and coached lies. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 30, 329-341. doi: 10.1002/bsl.1994

In this investigation, 514 university students judged whether children were telling the truth about highly emotional events. Eight children (half female, half 8-9 and the remainder 12-14 years old) had been injured seriously enough to require emergency room treatment and were interviewed a few days later. Each was yoked to three other children matched in age and gender who fabricated accounts under one of three conditions: lies that were unprepared, prepared (24 hours to prepare), and coached by parents. Participants were at chance when judging true accounts as well as unprepared and prepared lies. However, 74% of the coached lies were judged as true. Participants’ confidence in their judgments, age, experience with children, and relevant coursework/training did not improve judgments.