Suggestibility in Children with FASD
What is interrogative suggestibility?
Interrogative suggestibility is the ability to be influenced during a formal questioning procedure (such as being questioned by a teacher, principle, police officer, etc...). The questions typically concern details about a past event. Whether an individual has or has not been influenced can be determined by examining their subsequent behaviors. For example, if a teacher tells a child that they are not telling the truth, will the child respond differently, even if the child believes they did tell the truth?
How does this relate to children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?
Children with FASD have a unique set of cognitive, behavioral and physical deficits. In particular, children may have impairments in key cognitive areas of general intelligence, verbal abilities, episodic memory (memory of an event), impulse control, ability to focus and concentrate, and inhibition (for example, suppressing a response). Research on interrogative suggestibility indicates a significant association between these areas and heightened suggestibility in typically developing individuals. These results imply that individuals with FASD are potentially at higher risk of interrogative suggestibility. Indeed, children with FASD are informally described by caregivers and clinicians as being more suggestible than typically developing peers.
Importance of Interrogative Suggestibility
The elicitation of suggested information from individuals could serve to increase involvement with the justice system. This may be particularly harmful for individuals with FASD, as the prevalence of FASD youth in the criminal justice system is disproportionately high, particularly among youth aged 12-18 years. These findings may have important consequences for future interrogative interactions with individuals with FASD, as particular care may be necessary when dealing with this population to ensure information is not presented in a suggestive manner.
The Current Study: Investigating Suggestibility in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
This project is interested in comparing the suggestibility rates in children with FASD and children without such a disorder to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by these children and their families. The primary goal of the present study is to determine whether there are significant differences in levels of suggestibility between groups of children with FASD and typical children.
We are looking for: 1) male and female children aged 6 – 17 with a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and 2) typically developing male and female children aged 6 -17 years.
Participation involves your child completing several standardized tasks as well as tasks assessing risk to suggestion from an authority figure. Once the session is finished, your child will get to choose a prize for their participation. We would also provide you with a $5.00 honorarium. Appointments are approximately 1 hour and are held in the Psychology Clinic at the University of Victoria.
If you are interested in hearing more or wish to sign up, please contact me by phone (250-472-4195) or email email@example.com. Your interest and participation are greatly appreciated!