Warren, K.L., Bakhtiar, M., Mulrooney, B., Raynor, G.K., Dodd, E.K., & Peterson, C. (2015). Adults’ detection of deception in children: Effect of coaching and age for children’s true and fabricated reports of injuries. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 33, 784-800.

A total of 1,074 undergraduates judged the truthfulness of children’s interviews (from verbatim transcripts) about experiencing injuries serious enough to require hospital emergency room treatment. Ninety-six children (three age groups: 5-7, 8-10, and 11-14-year-olds, half girls) were interviewed. At each age, 16 children told truthful accounts of actual injury experiences and 16 fabricated their reports, with half of each group coached by parents for the prior four days.  Lies by 5-7 year-olds, whether coached or not, were detected at above chance levels.  In contrast, 8-10 year-olds’ accounts that were coached, whether true or not, were more likely to be believed.  For 11-14 year-olds, adults were less likely to accurately judge lies if they were coached.  The believability of children aged 8 or above who were coached to lie is particularly disturbing in light of the finding that participants were more confident in the accuracy of their veracity decisions when judging coached reports