Factors that facilitate and undermine truth telling about witnessed transgressive conduct

P Wagland, K Bussey

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


This study examined the extent to which children believe that truth telling is compromised by negative outcome expectancies. It also investigated the efficacy of two types of appeals, externally and internally directed, for encouraging truth telling. Seventy-two children from three age groups (5, 7, and 10 years of age) participated in a vignette study designed to examine these issues. Results showed that children believed that truth telling about an adult's transgression would be more likely if negative outcomes were not expected than if they were expected. Further, children believed that either externally or internally focused encouragement would facilitate truth telling when negative outcomes were expected for truth telling. Beliefs about the propensity for truth telling were associated more with positive evaluations of truth telling than with negative evaluations of lying. These results have important implications for court cases in which children testify about an adult who has sworn them to secrecy and they are afraid to speak the truth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-66
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003

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