Young children's difficulty with indirect speech acts

Implications for questioning child witnesses

Angela D. Evans, Stacia Roosevelt, Kang Lee, Thomas D. Lyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prior research suggests that infelicitous choice of questions can significantly underestimate children's actual abilities, independently of suggestiveness. One possibly difficult question type is indirect speech acts such as "Do you know." questions (DYK, e.g., "Do you know where it happened?"). These questions directly ask if respondents know, while indirectly asking what respondents know. If respondents answer "yes," but fail to elaborate, they are either ignoring or failing to recognize the indirect question (known as pragmatic failure). Two studies examined the effect of indirect speech acts on maltreated and non-maltreated 2-to 7-year-olds' post-event interview responses. Children were read a story and later interviewed using DYK and Wh- questions. Additionally, children completed a series of executive functioning tasks. Both studies revealed that using DYK questions increased the chances of pragmatic failure, particularly for younger children and those with lower inhibitory control skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-788
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

speech act
witness
pragmatics
Aptitude
Interviews
event
ability
interview
Research
Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Young children's difficulty with indirect speech acts : Implications for questioning child witnesses. / Evans, Angela D.; Roosevelt, Stacia; Lee, Kang; Lyon, Thomas D.

In: Behavioral Sciences and the Law, Vol. 32, No. 6, 01.11.2014, p. 775-788.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{80fcdce878ce43f4aeeba7ec9edc4ce3,
title = "Young children's difficulty with indirect speech acts: Implications for questioning child witnesses",
abstract = "Prior research suggests that infelicitous choice of questions can significantly underestimate children's actual abilities, independently of suggestiveness. One possibly difficult question type is indirect speech acts such as {"}Do you know.{"} questions (DYK, e.g., {"}Do you know where it happened?{"}). These questions directly ask if respondents know, while indirectly asking what respondents know. If respondents answer {"}yes,{"} but fail to elaborate, they are either ignoring or failing to recognize the indirect question (known as pragmatic failure). Two studies examined the effect of indirect speech acts on maltreated and non-maltreated 2-to 7-year-olds' post-event interview responses. Children were read a story and later interviewed using DYK and Wh- questions. Additionally, children completed a series of executive functioning tasks. Both studies revealed that using DYK questions increased the chances of pragmatic failure, particularly for younger children and those with lower inhibitory control skills.",
author = "Evans, {Angela D.} and Stacia Roosevelt and Kang Lee and Lyon, {Thomas D.}",
year = "2014",
month = "11",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/bsl.2142",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "32",
pages = "775--788",
journal = "Behavioral Sciences and the Law",
issn = "0735-3936",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Ltd",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Young children's difficulty with indirect speech acts

T2 - Implications for questioning child witnesses

AU - Evans, Angela D.

AU - Roosevelt, Stacia

AU - Lee, Kang

AU - Lyon, Thomas D.

PY - 2014/11/1

Y1 - 2014/11/1

N2 - Prior research suggests that infelicitous choice of questions can significantly underestimate children's actual abilities, independently of suggestiveness. One possibly difficult question type is indirect speech acts such as "Do you know." questions (DYK, e.g., "Do you know where it happened?"). These questions directly ask if respondents know, while indirectly asking what respondents know. If respondents answer "yes," but fail to elaborate, they are either ignoring or failing to recognize the indirect question (known as pragmatic failure). Two studies examined the effect of indirect speech acts on maltreated and non-maltreated 2-to 7-year-olds' post-event interview responses. Children were read a story and later interviewed using DYK and Wh- questions. Additionally, children completed a series of executive functioning tasks. Both studies revealed that using DYK questions increased the chances of pragmatic failure, particularly for younger children and those with lower inhibitory control skills.

AB - Prior research suggests that infelicitous choice of questions can significantly underestimate children's actual abilities, independently of suggestiveness. One possibly difficult question type is indirect speech acts such as "Do you know." questions (DYK, e.g., "Do you know where it happened?"). These questions directly ask if respondents know, while indirectly asking what respondents know. If respondents answer "yes," but fail to elaborate, they are either ignoring or failing to recognize the indirect question (known as pragmatic failure). Two studies examined the effect of indirect speech acts on maltreated and non-maltreated 2-to 7-year-olds' post-event interview responses. Children were read a story and later interviewed using DYK and Wh- questions. Additionally, children completed a series of executive functioning tasks. Both studies revealed that using DYK questions increased the chances of pragmatic failure, particularly for younger children and those with lower inhibitory control skills.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84925340974&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84925340974&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/bsl.2142

DO - 10.1002/bsl.2142

M3 - Article

VL - 32

SP - 775

EP - 788

JO - Behavioral Sciences and the Law

JF - Behavioral Sciences and the Law

SN - 0735-3936

IS - 6

ER -