|Title||Why Bullying Victims are Not Believed: Differentiating Between Children’s True and Fabricated Reports of Stressful and Non-stressful Events|
|Year of Publication||2009|
|Academic Department||Human Development and Applied Psychology|
|Degree||Master of Arts|
|University||University of Toronto|
To date, limited research has been conducted to identify differences in children’s truthful and deceptive statements concerning stressful events. The present study uses automated linguistic software to detect linguistic patterns and objectively differentiate between the true and false stressful reports of bullying and non-stressful reports of sports events 7- to 14-year-olds. Results revealed that children displayed different linguistic patterns when reporting true and false stories, and between stressful and non-stressful stories. A discriminant analysis reliably differentiated between true and false stressful and non-stressful stories, though the veracity of non-stressful stories was more accurately classified than stressful stories. Experiment 2 revealed that adults were below chance levels in accurately identifying children’s true and false reports of stressful events (bullying), with confidence ratings and experience with children failing to improve accuracy scores. Taken together, results reveal that children are able to fabricate emotional and stressful stories that closely replicate their true reports.