Social understanding and the effect of social pressure on children's suggestibility

Catherine Rieman Camilletti, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The current study investigated the effect of varying levels of social pressure in a suggestive interview on children’s recall for a witnessed event as well as the relationship between children’s social understanding and their suggestibility. Children were randomly assigned to take part in one of four suggestive interviews about a confederate’s visit to their classroom. Children also completed several tasks to assess their knowledge and understanding of social situations. Children receiving high levels of social pressure in an interview had higher rates of suggestibility than children receiving lower levels of social pressure in an interview. Children’s overall comprehension of a social understanding measure, receptive vocabulary, and ability to pass a standard theory of mind task were negatively correlated with their suggestibility among children receiving low levels of social pressure in an interview. Among children receiving high levels of social pressure in an interview, their receptive vocabulary was negatively correlated with their suggestibility in an initial interview, but not related to suggestibility in a follow-up interview, and children’s ability to reason about another person’s intentions was positively correlated with their suggestibility. These findings suggest that individual differences in children’s suggestibility were masked by high levels of social pressure in a suggestive interview.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Experimental

Recommended Citation

Camilletti, Catherine Rieman, "Social understanding and the effect of social pressure on children's suggestibility" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3409140.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3409140

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