Veni for Henry Otgaar8 August 2012
Henry Otgaar (CPS) has received a Veni grant for a study into a counterintuitive hypothesis that adults, rather than children, are the most susceptible to suggestion and memory illusions for forensically-relevant (emotionally-arousing, autobiographical) events. Furthermore, this project will assess whether this effect is also present in maltreated samples.
The default assumption that scientists and legal professionals have about memory is that more credibility should be lent to adults’ than children’s memories and that in children, recollections are more likely to be infected with memory illusions than in adults. The consequence is that, for example, specific interview protocols have been developed and that adults’ statements are often more trusted than children’s. Henry will examine under which theoretical circumstances, this developmental pattern is reversed. If true, it will have important implications for legal professionals working with child and adult victims of traumatic events.