The Video Suggestibility Scale for Children: how generalizable is children's performance to other measures of suggestibility?

Research paper by Felicity F McFarlane, Martine B MB Powell

Indexed on: 05 Dec '02Published on: 05 Dec '02Published in: Behavioral Sciences & the Law


This study explored the generalizability of the Video Suggestibility Scale for Children (VSSC), which was developed by Scullin and colleagues (Scullin & Ceci, 2001; Scullin & Hembrooke, 1998) as a tool for discriminating among children (aged three to five years) who have different levels of suggestibility. The VSSC consists of two subscales; Yield (a measure of children's willingness to acquiesce to misleading questions) and Shift (a measure of children's tendency to change their responses after feedback from the interviewer). Children's (N = 77) performance on each of the subscales was compared with their performance using several other measures of suggestibility. These measures included children's willingness to assent to a false event as well as the number of false interviewer suggestions and false new details that the children provided when responding to cued-recall questions about an independent true-biased and an independent false (non-experienced) event. An independent samples t-test revealed that those children who assented to the false event generated higher scores on the Yield measure. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that Yield was a significant predictor of the number of false details reported about the false activity, but not the true-biased activity. There was no significant relationship between the Shift subscale and any of the dependent variables. The potential contribution of the VSSC for forensic researchers and practitioners is discussed.