McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Dominique Amis

Amis.JPG

Major and Classification

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

  • Thomas Lyon, J.D., Ph.D.

Department

  • Law, Psychology

McNair Project

"Child Witness Responses Reviewed: An Examination of the Difficulties Children Display when Questioned in Cour"

Research concerning child witness testimony is important in determining how reliable and accurate children are when responding to questions during court testimony. In order to explore how child witness testimony can be further improved, lawyers' questioning and witness responses were examined in transcripts from 60 sexual abuse cases that were brought to the California District Attorney's Office in Los Angeles County between 1997 and 2002. The transcripts were used as a tool to discern whether inaccuracies of child witness testimony were products of attorneys' questioning. More specifically, the study explored whether children's responses were more logical if attorneys' questions were consistent with an order of mention strategy. A significant dependent relationship was found between question form and preservation or violation of order of mention.