Debra Ann Poole

Central Michigan University, Central, LA, United States

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Publications (24)59.27 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In eyewitness studies as in actual investigations, a minority of children generate numerous false (and sometimes incredulous) allegations. To explore the characteristics of these children, we reinterviewed and administered a battery of tasks to 61 children (ages 4-9years) who had previously participated in an eyewitness study where a man broke a "germ rule" twice when he tried to touch them. Performance on utilization, response conflict (Luria tapping), and theory of mind tasks predicted the number of false reports of touching (with age and time since the event controlled) and correctly classified 90.16% of the children as typical witnesses or exuberant (more than 3) false reporters. Results of a factor analysis pointed to a common process underlying performance on these tasks that accounted for 49% of the variability in false reports. Relations between task performance and testimony confirmed that the mechanisms underlying occasional intrusions are different from those that drive persistent confabulation and that deficient cognitive control fuels young children's exuberant false reports.
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 10/2013; · 3.12 Impact Factor
  • Debra Ann Poole, Jason J Dickinson
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the impact of comfort drawing (allowing children to draw during interviews) on the quality of children's eyewitness reports. METHODS: Children (N=219, 5 to 12 years) who had participated in an earlier memory study returned 1 or 2 years later, experienced a new event, and described these events during phased, investigative-style interviews. Interviewers delivered the same prompts to children in the no drawing and drawing conditions but provided paper and markers in the drawing condition, invited these children to draw, and periodically asked if they would like to make another picture. RESULTS: Most children in the drawing condition were interested in using the materials, and measures of eyewitness performance were sensitive to differences in cognitive ability (i.e., age) and task difficulty (i.e., delay between the remote event and interview). Comfort drawing had no overall impact as evidenced by nonsignificant main effects of condition across 20 performance measures, although more of the younger children reported experienced touching in the drawing than no drawing condition. CONCLUSIONS: The children successfully divided attention between voluntary drawing and conversations about past events. Importantly, comfort drawing did not impair the amount of information recalled, the accuracy of children's answers, or even the extent to which interviewers needed to prompt for answers. Due to the large number of analyses, the benefit of drawing for younger, touched children requires replication. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Comfort drawing poses no documented risks for typically-developing school-aged children, but the practice remains untested for younger children and those with cognitive impairments.
    Child abuse & neglect 06/2013; · 2.34 Impact Factor
  • Debra Ann Poole, Maggie Bruck
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    ABSTRACT: There is a long-held assumption that objects help bridge the gap between what children know and what they can (or are willing to) explain. In this review, we present research on the extent to which two types of objects used as props in investigative interviews of children, anatomical dolls and body (human figure) diagrams, actually help children report accurate information about autobiographical events. We explain why available research does not instill confidence that props are the best solution to interviewing challenges, and we consider practitioners' and policy-makers responses to this evidence. Finally, we discuss the types of developmental research that are necessary to advance the field of evidence-based interviewing of children.
    Developmental Review 09/2012; 32(3):165-180. · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    Jason J. Dickinson, Debra A. Poole
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    ABSTRACT: Researchers rely on two types of coding systems to evaluate eyewitness narratives. Features-of-events checklists offer coding simplicity but are impractical when target events are complex. Units-of-information (UOI) systems score all information reported, regardless of event complexity, but are difficult to implement. To test whether simpler systems would alter conclusions about memory performance, transcripts from children (3–8 years of age) who participated in an eyewitness study, originally coded using a UOI system called syntactic units (SU), were recoded using two word count procedures. Correlations between SU, modified word count, and raw word count values were high, and the proportion of information that was inaccurate was comparable across systems. Considering their high interrater reliability, procedural simplicity, and convergence with SU coding, word count procedures are efficient alternatives to UOI coding.
    Behavior Research Methods 04/2012; 32(4):537-545. · 2.12 Impact Factor
  • Debra Ann Poole
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    ABSTRACT: Everson and Faller's (2012) article on the significance of sexualized behavior in child sexual abuse assessments critiques a chapter by Poole and Wolfe (2009), but their objections assumed conclusions and practice implications that were not contained in that chapter. In this comment, I reiterate the value of educating adults about normative sexual and nonsexual behavior that could be misconstrued as symptoms of sexual abuse in some children, review key points from the chapter, and point out that Everson and Faller's critique supports the chapter's take-home messages (i.e., the importance of gathering information from multiple sources and the need to test alternative hypotheses for concerning behavior, consider the overall context of individual cases, and obtain independent verification of evidence).
    Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 03/2012; 21(2):220-4. · 0.75 Impact Factor
  • Debra Ann Poole, Jason J Dickinson
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    ABSTRACT: This study compared two methods for questioning children about suspected abuse: standard interviewing and body-diagram-focused (BDF) interviewing, a style of interviewing in which interviewers draw on a flip board and introduce the topic of touching with a body diagram. Children (N=261) 4-9 years of age individually participated in science demonstrations during which half the children were touched two times. Months later, parents read stories to their children that described accurate and inaccurate information about the demonstrations. The stories for untouched children also contained inaccurate descriptions of touching. The children completed standard or BDF interviews, followed by source-monitoring questions. Interview format did not significantly influence (a) children's performance during early interview phases, (b) the amount of contextual information children provided about the science experience, or (c) memory source monitoring. The BDF protocol had beneficial and detrimental effects on touch reports: More children in the BDF condition reported experienced touching, but at the expense of an increased number of suggested and spontaneous false reports. The two props that are characteristic of BDF interviewing have different effects on testimonial accuracy. Recording answers on a flip board during presubstantive phases does not influence the quality of information that children provide. Body diagrams, however, suggest answers to children and elicit a concerning number of false reports. Until research identifies procedures and/or case characteristics associated with accurate reports of touching during diagram-assisted questioning, interviewers should initiate discussions about touching with open-ended questions delivered without a body diagram.
    Child abuse & neglect 09/2011; 35(9):659-69. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    Debra Ann Poole, Maggie Bruck, Margaret-Ellen Pipe
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    ABSTRACT: The belief that props help children report abuse has fostered the widespread use of anatomical dolls and body diagrams in forensic interviews. Yet studies involving alleged abuse victims, children who have experienced medical examinations, and children who have participated in staged events have failed to find consistent evidence that props improve young children's ability to report key information related to bodily contact. Because props elevate the risk of erroneous touch reports, interviewers need to reconsider the belief that props are developmentally appropriate in forensic interviews, and researchers need to explore new approaches for eliciting disclosures of inappropriate touching.
    Current Directions in Psychological Science 02/2011; 20(1):11-15. · 3.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This research examined how the racial prototypicality of minority job applicants' faces influenced hiring decisions under different affirmative action (AA) policies: no AA, soft AA (recruitment of minorities with merit-based hiring), and hard AA (race as a tie-break factor in hiring). Participants (N=252) evaluated resume/photograph pairs, each containing a Caucasian and a Black applicant, with minority applicants representing three levels of racial prototypicality. The number of jobs awarded to minorities increased as Black racial prototypicality increased. Each level of AA policy strength increased the number of minority hires, but these increases came with a price: AA directives decreased the percentage of minority hires attributed to higher qualifications and increased perceptions that hires were due to AA more than was actually the case.
    International Journal of Selection and Assessment 05/2010; 18(2):166 - 173. · 1.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One component of metasuggestibility is the understanding that a person's statements can influence another person's reports. The purpose of the present study was to examine the development of this understanding in school-aged children. We produced a short video in which a boy makes a false allegation about being hit following an adult's suggestive interview. Children aged 6–13 years (N = 196) watched the video and answered open-ended and forced-choice questions about why the boy made a false allegation. The 6- and 7-year-olds performed poorly on all question types, whereas the 12- and 13-year-olds were at ceiling. There were developmental increases in metasuggestibility between 8 and 11 years. Our findings indicate that metasuggestibility undergoes prolonged development well into the school years. Implications for child witness training programs are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Applied Cognitive Psychology 01/2010; 25(1):146 - 155. · 1.67 Impact Factor
  • David B. Daniel, Debra A. Poole
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT The trend to convert laboratory findings on the conditions associated with optimal memory into recommendations for teaching strategies and learning aids will harm students if findings fail to generalize to students' usual learning environments. Moreover, it is likely that pedagogies function differently for students with different degrees of background knowledge, time, and interest in the subject matter; that some support activities will prevent students from honing their ability learn from narrative material without guided learning; and that an overuse of learning aids will tax students' ability to use them effectively. We contrast two approaches to developing pedagogy—memory first and pedagogical ecology—and explain how the human factors approach of pedagogical ecology could be a more satisfying model for the scholarship of teaching and learning.
    Perspectives on Psychological Science 01/2009; 4(1). · 4.89 Impact Factor
  • Rachel L Laimon, Debra A Poole
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    ABSTRACT: Do people realize the danger of asking misinformed children yes-no questions? Study 1 confirmed that disclosures children made during free recall in an earlier suggestibility study were more accurate than disclosures following "yes" responses to yes-no questions, which in turn were more accurate than disclosures following "no" responses. In Studies 2 and 3, college students watched interviews of children and judged the veracity of these three disclosure patterns. Participants generally believed false reports representing the first two patterns, although watching expert testimony that included a videotaped example of a false report reduced trust in prompted disclosures. Results document the need to inform forensic decision-makers about the circumstances associated with erroneous responses to yes-no questions.
    Law and Human Behavior 02/2008; 32(6):489-501. · 2.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Practitioner-members of the National Association of School Psychologists (N = 162) completed questionnaires regarding their suicide prevention and postvention roles, training, preparedness, and knowledge. Most were crisis team members, yet less than one-half reported graduate training in suicide risk assessment and less than one-fourth in postvention. Compared to nondoctoral-level practitioners, doctoral-trained practitioners felt better prepared to handle suicidal students. Most respondents had participated in a suicide risk assessment in the past 2 years, with few using standardized measures. Performance was moderately strong on questions about knowledge of risk factors, warning signs, and appropriate steps to respond to a suicidal student, but respondents showed less familiarity with postvention recommendations intended to discourage contagion. Training suggestions were identified. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Psychol Schs 44: 157–170, 2007.
    Psychology in the Schools 01/2007; 44(2):157 - 170. · 0.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We respond to comments by Pope regarding research by Poole, Lindsay, Memon, and Bull. Pope called on psychologists to “scrutinize the assumptions” underlying our research on the grounds that the findings were reported inappropriately, there was no plan to control for Type I errors, and the sample was too small. We rebut each of these criticisms and clarify the findings and conclusions offered by Poole et al.
    Clinical Psychology Science and Practice 01/2006; 3(4):363 - 365. · 2.92 Impact Factor
  • Debra Ann Poole, Jason J Dickinson
    Child Abuse & Neglect 12/2005; 29(11):1197-202. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many researchers and interviewers have become disenchanted with the practice of using anatomically detailed (AD) dolls during forensic investigations, yet there is still support for doll-assisted interviews. This comment discusses five major concerns about AD dolls, involving child-related and interviewer-related factors. The research findings suggest that individuals who advocate for AD dolls bear the burden of proving that dolls are the best alternative for eliciting information about personally-experienced events from children.
    Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice 01/2005; 5(1):63-74. · 0.37 Impact Factor
  • Laura Maria Padilla-Walker, Debra Ann Poole
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    ABSTRACT: Case studies of individuals who claimed to have recovered previously repressed memories of abuse during situations that involved memory cueing revealed that some individuals had discussed abuse with others during an earlier time period. Termed the ‘forgot-it-all-along’ effect, this phenomenon has legal implications for statutes of limitations. Two experiments provide evidence for differences between free recall and more directed (recognition or cued recall) test conditions in the accuracy of memories for previous recall. Participants more often erred by claiming they had not previously remembered recognized (Experiment 1) or cued (Experiment 2) sentences than freely recalled sentences, and this difference was obtained even when the number of remembered sentences was equivalent across conditions (Experiment 2). These studies document that memory for previous recollection is less accurate for cued memories even when remembered events do not produce feelings of shock or surprise. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Applied Cognitive Psychology 05/2002; 16(5):515 - 524. · 1.67 Impact Factor
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    Debra Ann Poole, D Stephen Lindsay
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    ABSTRACT: This study explored whether a source-monitoring training (SMT) procedure, in which children distinguished between events they recently witnessed versus events they only heard described, would help 3- to 8-year-olds to report only experienced events during a target interview. Children (N = 132) who witnessed science demonstrations and subsequently heard their parents describe nonexperienced events received SMT before or after a forensic-style interview. SMT reduced the number of false reports that 7- and 8-year-old children reported in response to direct questions but had no impact on the performance of younger children. Combined with earlier results, these data suggest a transition between 3 and 8 years of age in the strategic use of source-monitoring information to support verbal reports, such that only 7- and 8-year-olds generalize training to a difficult memory task that does not include mention of specific alternative sources.
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 03/2002; 81(2):117-40. · 3.12 Impact Factor
  • Maggie Bruck, Debra A Poole
    Developmental Review - DEVELOP REV. 01/2002; 22(3):331-333.
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    Debra A. Poole, D. Stephen Lindsay
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    ABSTRACT: Replies to comments by K. S. Pope (see records 1996-05971-008 and 1997-05605-020) regarding the D. A. Poole et al discussion of recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse. The authors respond to Pope's comments, noting that the original article has been misrepresented by professionals on both sides of the controversy regarding memory-recovery in therapy. Secondary treatments of Poole et al have included misleading partial quotations, innuendos regarding motives, and erroneous descriptions of the measures, findings, and conclusions. Some authors also have failed to differentiate between their own extrapolations and the content of Poole et al's article itself. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
    American Psychologist 05/1998; 53(6):681-682. · 6.87 Impact Factor
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    Debra A. Poole, D. Stephen Lindsay
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    ABSTRACT: Procedures for investigating allegations of child sexual abuse have come under intense scrutiny by social critics, researchers, and the courts. Concerns about under- and overidentification have fueled two approaches to evaluation: the indicator approach, which seeks to specify symptoms that can be used to identify sexually abused children, and the assessments approach, which analyzes conditions associated with accurate versus inaccurate event reports. A review of research from these approaches reveals a number of gaps between empirical results and commonly cited aphorisms about how to discriminate between true and false reports. Four principles for designing studies and communicating findings are suggested to improve the interface between research and practice.
    Applied and Preventive Psychology. 01/1998;