Archives of Scientific Psychology

This dataset is made available in connection to an article in Archives of Scientific Psychology, the first open-access, open-methods journal of the American Psychological Association (APA). Archiving and dissemination of this research is part of APA's commitment to collaborative data sharing.

A Moral Developmental Perspective on Children's Eyewitness Identification: Does Intent Matter? (ICPSR 35477)

Principal Investigator(s): Spring, Toni, City University of New York. Queens College; Saltzstein, Herbert, City University of New York. Graduate Center; Vidal, Bianca, City University of New York. Graduate Center


In study 1 eyewitness identification of the perpetrator of a 'crime' (fire), framed as either intended or unintended, was studied in 138 children, ages 7 to 18. Analysis using Signal Detection reveals an interaction of age and condition on decisional bias. Like in past studies, the framing of the act had no effect on the 7-9 year olds, but did have an effect on decisional bias for the other age groups. Decisional bias was more lax (indicting more false alarms) in the intended condition for 10-12 and 14-15 year olds but was more stringent (fewer false alarms) for the 16-18 year olds. This pattern of age and condition differs from the pattern of explicit judgments (how bad the act was, how much punishment it deserved, and how bad it is to commit a false alarm or a miss). Study 2 was conducted to confirm the unexpected findings for the 10-12 year olds. Forty-two children, ages 10-12 viewed the same film, which was framed as unintended, but, resulting either in (a) major or (b) minor damage (fire), approximately half randomly assigned to condition (a) and half to (b). Parallel results were obtained with an earlier study, with lower bias scores (more false alarms) in the major than minor damage conditions. Thus, from both studies, we may conclude that decisional bias is more lenient (resulting in more false alarms) for 10-12 year olds when either intent or damage is bad.

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Study Description


Spring, Toni, Herbert Saltzstein, and Bianca Vidal. A Moral Developmental Perspective on Children's Eyewitness Identification: Does Intent Matter?. ICPSR35477-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-10-01.

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    children, crime, decision making

Smallest Geographic Unit:    County

Geographic Coverage:    New York (state), New York City, United States

Time Period:   

  • 2012--2013

Date of Collection:   

  • 2012-09-12--2013-09-11

Unit of Observation:    Individual

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Data and documentation for this collection (in SPSS format) are contained in a zipped package.


Sample:    Random

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Mode of Data Collection:    face-to-face interview

Presence of Common Scales:    Signal Detection


Original ICPSR Release:   2014-10-01


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