Angela D Evans

Angela D Evans
Brock University · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

72
Publications
25,678
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Introduction
Angela D Evans currently works at the Department of Psychology, Brock University. https://brocku.ca/psychology/people/evans.html I am a developmental psychologist with a focus on the influence of children's social and cognitive development on their moral understanding and behaviour. I use experimental methods to systematically study children's understanding of deception and their actual deceptive behaviours both in the laboratory and in the field. I also examine cultural factors that influence children's understanding and evaluation of lies in different contexts, as well as their actual lie-telling behaviours. Additionally, I am interested in issues related to child eyewitness testimony such as children's competency, credibility, and our ability to detect their lies.

Publications

Publications (72)
Article
Full-text available
Forensic interviewers ask children broad input-free recall questions about individual episodes in order to elicit complete narratives, often asking about “the first time,” “the last time,” and “one time.” An overlooked problem is that the word “time” is potentially ambiguous, referring both to a particular episode and to conventional temporal infor...
Article
Objective Commonly-used youth anxiety measures may not comprehensively capture fears, worries, and experiences related to the pervasive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study described the development of the Fear of Illness and Virus Evaluation (FIVE) scales and validated the caregiver-report version. Method After initial development, feedbac...
Article
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As cases of child maltreatment become an increasing concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, the perspectives of those charged with protecting and supporting children and families is an important area of inquiry. We sought to examine the experiences of child maltreatment workers during the first wave of the pandemic (i.e., May-July 2020). We specifica...
Article
Children may be asked questions with subtle and implied meanings. The present study examined whether, and under what conditions, 5- to 10-year-old children affirmed polysemous implicature questions that implied coaching, when in fact no coaching occurred. Participants (N = 161) were presented with vignettes about a transgression where the child dis...
Article
Social workers involved in child maltreatment investigations faced considerable challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interactions with children and families carried new restrictions and risks, which resulted in changes in practice. We conducted a two-phase, mixed-methods study which examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social workers...
Article
Full-text available
Self-report research indicates that dishonesty decreases across adulthood; however, behavioral measures of dishonesty have yet to be examined across younger and older adults. The present study examined younger and older adults’ cheating behaviors in relation to their self-reported honesty–humility. Younger ( N = 112) and older adults ( N = 85) comp...
Preprint
The aim of this research is to further elucidate the deleterious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and specifically the associated educational disruptions on youth’s psychological functioning. This original research is the first to investigate the effect of schoolhouse modality on internalizing and externalizing symptoms in a large, geographically d...
Article
Full-text available
Adults often fail to recognize the ambiguity of children's unelaborated responses to ‘Do you know/remember (DYK/R) if/whether’ questions. Two studies examined whether sample questions and/or an explicit instruction would improve adults' ability to recognize referential ambiguity in children's testimony. In Study 1 (N = 383), participants rarely rec...
Article
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Purpose: Previous research has established that lie-detection accuracy decreases with age; however, various mechanisms for this effect have yet to be explored, particularly when examining the detection of children’s lies. The present study investigated if younger and older adults detect children’s lies using different cues (verbal-content, verbal-a...
Article
The present study assessed how accurate adults are at detecting fraudulent e-mail activity. A total of 100 younger (18–26 years) and 96 older adults (60–90 years) categorized a series of e-mails as legitimate or fraudulent phishing schemes and self-reported their fraud experiences. Younger and older adults did not differ in accuracy rates when cate...
Article
With age, children become increasingly likely to make initial disclosures of transgressions, such as maltreatment, to peers. The present study examined adults’ credibility evaluations of children’s disclosures to peers across two studies. Study 1 examined credibility evaluations when children disclosed (or concealed) to a peer compared to an adult....
Article
This study explored if adults (laypersons) are sensitive to the appropriateness of questions posed by lawyers to child witnesses in court. We examined whether this sensitivity, if present, was influenced by (a) the child’s age (6 or 12-year old) and (b) the presence of judicial instructions. We also explored whether sensitivity to question appropri...
Article
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Researchers studying children’s reports of sexual abuse have focused on how questioners overtly assess coaching and truthfulness (e.g., “Did someone tell you what to say?”). Yet attorneys, and defense attorneys in particular, may be motivated to ask about suggestive influence and truthfulness in subtle ways, such as with implied meaning (e.g., “Did...
Article
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Objective: Two studies examined 4-7-year-old maltreated children's "I don't know" (IDK) responses to wh- questions after receiving various interview instructions. Hypotheses: We predicted (H1) children would be less inclined to give IDK responses and more inclined to guess to color/number questions compared to other wh- questions; (H2) IDK instr...
Article
Accurate event sequencing can add critical detail to a child's account. However, our knowledge of sequencing in childhood to date primarily centers on distinct events separated by time. Sequencing a single event's components is also important, perhaps particularly in a forensic context. In two experiments, we explored children's ability to recall t...
Article
Children’s developing understanding of language may influence their ability to accurately respond to questions inquiring about their event knowledge (i.e., Why and How Come questions), potentially creating misinterpretations in adult–child communication. The present study examined 120 5-, 7-, and 9-year-old’s accuracy in responding to Why and How C...
Article
Lies to benefit the collective are common in adult contexts; however, less is known about children's willingness to lie for the collective. The present study examined 7- to 11-year-old children's tendency to lie to conceal a group transgression. Children (N = 408) participated in a competition in small groups during which the group leaders encourag...
Article
Introduction: Lie-telling appears to peak during adolescence; however, previous research has not yet examined lie-telling frequency in adolescents' friendships. Increased lie-telling may be problematic given that honesty is crucial for trust within positive relationships, and more positive relationships lead to more positive well-being. The presen...
Article
Honest disclosures of COVID-19 behaviors and symptoms is critical. A sample of adults on MTurk ( N = 451, 20–82 years of age) were asked if they have concealed social distancing practices, COVID-19 symptoms, and quarantine instructions, as well as how they evaluated others’ COVID-19 concealment. Those who believed they had contracted COVID-19 engag...
Article
Full-text available
Children’s ability to adequately describe clothing placement is essential to evaluating their allegations of sexual abuse. Intermediate clothing placement (partially removed clothing) may be difficult for young children to describe, requiring more detailed explanations to indicate the location of clothing (e.g., the clothes were pulled down to the...
Article
The current study is the first to provide a comprehensive examination of the activation-decision-construction model (Walczyk, Roper, Seemann, & Humphrey, 2003, 2009) in relation to young children's lie-telling and lie maintenance. Young children (3 to 4 years of age, N = 93) completed the temptation-resistance paradigm to elicit a transgression (pe...
Article
Full-text available
Lie-telling and secret-keeping are common behaviors during adolescence. Given the importance of honesty for building trust in positive relationships, the present study examined relations between lie-telling, secret-keeping, and relationship quality over time. Additionally, given the protective role of positive relationships in developing depression...
Article
The present study examined younger (18–30 years, N = 100) and older adults’ (66–89 years, N = 100) responses to a jury duty questionnaire assessing perceptions of jury duty, their capability to serve, and the capability of older adults to serve. We also explored perceptions of the senior jury opt-out law (a law that allows those over a certain age...
Article
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Previous studies suggest parents lack knowledge regarding child and adolescent lie-telling; however, no study to date has examined children’s and parents’ reports of lying within parent–child dyads. The current study examined parents’ knowledge of and influence on children’s and adolescents’ lie-telling. Parent–child dyads (N= 351) completed self-r...
Article
The current study examined the influence of the putative confession (in which children are told that the suspect told them "everything that happened" and "wants [the child] to tell the truth") and evidence presentation on 9- to 12-year-old maltreated and non-maltreated children's disclosure (N = 321). Half of the children played a forbidden game wi...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examined the influence of the putative confession (in which children are told that the suspect told them “everything that happened” and “wants [the child] to tell the truth”) and evidence presentation on 9- to 12-year-old maltreated and non-maltreated children’s disclosure (N = 321). Half of the children played a forbidden game wi...
Article
Full-text available
Peers are common recipients of disclosures about negative events, but the transmission of peer disclosures to adults is not well understood. We explored children’s (N = 352; aged 6–11 years) disclosures of a negative event to peer and adult interviewers. Some children witnessed an adult transgression and were asked to keep the transgression a secre...
Article
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The present study examined whether perceptions of a transgressor’s trustworthiness mediates the relationship between apologies and repaired trust, and the moderating role of negative emotions within this process. Chinese undergraduate students (N = 221) completed a trust game where they invested tokens in their counterpart, and either experienced n...
Article
The present study examined 7- to 12-year-olds' disclosure of a minor transgression as well as their disclosure about being asked to keep a secret and being coached to lie about the transgression. All children interacted with a confederate who allowed children to play with a forbidden object. Children were randomly assigned to one of three coaching...
Article
The current study investigated the relation between children's (3- to 8-year-olds) cheating behaviors and their sociocognitive development, including theory-of-mind (ToM) understanding and social skills. A total of 295 children completed a temptation resistance paradigm where they were asked not to peek at a toy in the experimenter's absence (measu...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has examined young and middle-aged adults’ perceptions of child witnesses; however, no research to date has examined how potential older adult jurors may perceive a child witness. The present investigation examined younger (18-30 years, N = 100) and older adults’ (66-89 years, N = 100) lie-detection and credibility judgments when...
Article
Several honesty promotion techniques have been established for children living in Western cultures; however, limited research has examined the effectiveness of these techniques among non‐Western children. Recently, inducing self‐awareness (by looking at oneself in a mirror) was found to be effective in promoting young Western children's honesty. Th...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examined adults’ (N = 295) interpretations of child witnesses’ referentially ambiguous “yes” and “no” responses to “Do You Know/Remember (DYK/R) if/whether” questions (e.g., “Do you know if it was blue?”). Participants were presented with transcripts from child sexual abuse cases modified based on question format (DYK/R vs. Direct...
Article
The current study investigated how having at least one child sibling influenced children's dishonest behaviors. Furthermore, for those children with a sibling, we examined whether having a younger or older sibling and the age difference between siblings influenced deceptive acts. Children between 3 and 8 years of age (N = 130) completed the temptat...
Article
Previous studies have shown that in older children, promising to tell the truth increases truth-telling rates; however, in preschool-aged children, this has not been found to be effective. The current study compared promising with a novel technique of increasing children's self-awareness (by asking children to look at themselves in a mirror). It wa...
Article
Children are frequently given rules and permissions that contrast their self-interest, resulting in cheating behavior. The present study examined whether a verbalized commitment without the word ‘promise’ could reduce cheating rates in young children and whether this technique would be significantly more effective than a simple affirmation to a req...
Article
Full-text available
“Do you know” and “Do you remember” (DYK/R) questions explicitly ask whether one knows or remembers some information while implicitly asking for that information. This study examined how 104 4- to 9-year-old children testifying in child sexual abuse cases responded to DYK/R wh- and yes/no questions. When asked DYK/R questions containing an implicit...
Article
"Do you know" and "Do you remember" (DYK/R) questions explicitly ask whether one knows or remembers some information while implicitly asking for that information. This study examined how 104 4- to 9-year-old children testifying in child sexual abuse cases responded to DYK/R wh- and yes/no questions. When asked DYK/R questions containing an implicit...
Article
Children learn information from a variety of sources and often remember the content but forget the source. Whereas the majority of research has focused on retrieval mechanisms for such difficulties, the present investigation examines whether the way in which sources are encoded influences future source monitoring. In Study 1, 86 children aged 3 to...
Article
The purpose of this study was to summarise recent research activity from 2009 to 2013 of faculty in Canadian developmental psychology programs, as there have been no previous studies on this stream in Canada. Rankings for research productivity (i.e., number of publications) and impact (e.g., citation counts) were evaluated using the Publish or Peri...
Article
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Honesty is a crucial aspect of a trusting parent-child relationship. Given that close relationships often impair our ability to detect lies and are related to a truth bias, parents may have difficulty with detecting their own children's lies. The current investigation examined the lie detection abilities (accuracy, biases, and confidence) of three...
Article
Prior studies have demonstrated that social-cognitive factors such as children’s false-belief understanding and parenting style are related to children’s lie-telling behaviors. The present study aimed to investigate how earlier forms of theory-of-mind understanding contribute to children’s lie-telling as well as how parenting practices are related...
Article
Full-text available
Prior research suggests that infelicitous choice of questions can significantly underestimate children’s actual abilities, independently of suggestiveness. One possibly difficult question type is indirect speech acts such as “Do you know…” questions (DYK, e.g., “Do you know where it happened?”). These questions directly ask if respondents know, whi...
Article
Full-text available
The classic moral stories have been used extensively to teach children about the consequences of lying and the virtue of honesty. Despite their widespread use, there is no evidence whether these stories actually promote honesty in children. This study compared the effectiveness of four classic moral stories in promoting honesty in 3- to 7-year-olds...
Article
The present investigation examined whether school-aged children and adolescents’ own deceptive behavior of cheating and lying influenced their honesty judgments of their same-aged peers. Eighty 8- to 17-year-olds who had previously participated in a study examining cheating and lie-telling behaviors were invited to make honesty judgments of their p...
Article
Full-text available
As children can be victims or witnesses to crimes and may be required to testify about their experiences in court, the ability to differentiate between children's true and fabricated accounts of victimization is an important issue. This study used automated linguistic analysis software to detect linguistic patterns in order to differentiate between...
Article
Two studies, with 102 nonmaltreated 3- to 6-year-old children and 96 maltreated 4- to 7-year-old children, examined children's understanding of the relative strengths of "I promise," "I will," "I might," and "I won't," to determine the most age-appropriate means of eliciting a promise to tell the truth from child witnesses. Children played a game i...
Article
The present investigation examined the relation between honesty, benevolence, and trust in children. One hundred and eight 7-, 9-, and 11-year-olds were read four story types in which the character's honesty (honesty or dishonest) was crossed with their intentions (helping or harming). Children rated the story character's honesty, benevolence, and...
Article
The present study aimed to test the hypothesis that an interfering task in the concealed information test will help the detection of concealed memory based on participants' behavioral performance (e.g. reaction time, error rate). Here, after participants enacted a mock crime, they were introduced to a concealed information test either with or witho...
Article
Full-text available
Lying is a pervasive human behavior. Evidence to date suggests that from the age of 42 months onward, children become increasingly capable of telling lies in various social situations. However, there is limited experimental evidence regarding whether very young children will tell lies spontaneously. The present study investigated the emergence of l...
Article
Full-text available
As children are often called upon to provide testimony in court proceedings, determining the veracity of their statements is an important issue. In the course of investigation by police and social workers, children are often repeatedly interviewed about their experiences, though the impact of this repetition on children's true and false statements...
Article
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This study examined children's accuracy in response to truth-lie competency questions asked in court. The participants included 164 child witnesses in criminal child sexual abuse cases tried in Los Angeles County over a 5-year period (1997-2001) and 154 child witnesses quoted in the U.S. state and federal appellate cases over a 35-year period (1974...
Article
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This paper reviews common law and statutory developments in the treatment of children as witnesses in Canada’s criminal justice system, where children who are victims of abuse testify with increasing frequency. Historically, children were regarded as inherently unreliable witnesses, and there were no provisions to accommodate their needs and vulner...
Article
Prior research has documented that Japanese children's performance on the Dimensional Change Card Sorting (DCCS) task can be influenced by their observation of another person completing the task, which is referred to as social transmission of disinhibition. The current study explored whether Canadian children would also show a social transmission o...
Article
The present investigation examined 8- to 16-year-olds' tendency to lie, the sophistication of their lies, and related cognitive factors. Participants were left alone and asked not to look at the answers to a test, but the majority peeked. The researcher then asked a series of questions to examine whether the participants would lie about their cheat...
Article
Full-text available
The present study explored the relations among lie-telling ability, false belief understanding, and verbal mental age. We found that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), like typically developing children, can and do tell antisocial lies (to conceal a transgression) and white lies (in politeness settings). However, children with ASD were l...
Article
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Young children's ability to tell a strategic lie by making it consistent with the physical evidence of their transgression was investigated along with the sociocognitive correlates of such lie-telling behaviors. In Experiment 1, 247 Chinese children between 3 and 5 years of age (126 boys) were left alone in a room and asked not to lift a cup to see...
Article
Techniques commonly used to increase truth-telling in most North American jurisdiction courts include requiring witnesses to discuss the morality of truth- and lie-telling and to promise to tell the truth prior to testifying. While promising to tell the truth successfully decreases younger children's lie-telling, the influence of discussing the mor...
Article
Providing help to others is a highly valued social practice. This study used neurophysiological methods to explore the neural correlates of individuals' reasoning about prosocial-helping behaviors and the relation between these correlates and self-reports of prosocial personality. Event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded while individuals reaso...
Article
Young children's descriptions of maltreatment are often sparse thus creating the need for techniques that elicit lengthier accounts. One technique that can be used by interviewers in an attempt to increase children's reports is "paraphrasing," or repeating information children have disclosed. Although we currently have a general understanding of ho...
Chapter
Full-text available
Children are exposed to information from many sources (e.g., teachers, television, the internet) and they need to know which sources to rely on and which to discount. In the chapter, we argue that using information sources appropriately is related to children's understanding about the mind. Children watched a slide show with an experimenter (the kn...
Article
Full-text available
Young children's descriptions of sexual abuse are often sparse thus creating the need for techniques that elicit lengthier accounts. ‘Paraphrasing’, or repeating information children have just disclosed, is a technique sometimes used by forensic interviewers to clarify or elicit information (e.g. if a child stated ‘He touched me’, an interviewer co...
Article
Attorneys' language has been found to influence the accuracy of a child's testimony, with defense attorneys asking more complex questions than the prosecution (Zajac & Hayne, J. Exp Psychol Appl 9:187-195, 2003; Zajac et al. Psychiatr Psychol Law, 10:199-209, 2003). These complex questions may be used as a strategy to influence the jury's perceived...
Conference Paper
Background: The ability to tell lies requires understanding that others may have mental states that differ from one’s own and that mental states drive behaviour. Though many studies have demonstrated that individuals with ASD have a deficit in ToM, researchers have just begun to examine lie-telling abilities in individuals with ASD. Furthermore,...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examined the developmental origin of 'blue lies', a pervasive form of lying in the adult world that is told purportedly to benefit a collective. Seven, 9-, and 11-year-old Chinese children were surreptitiously placed in a real-life situation where they decided whether to lie to conceal their group's cheating behavior. Children wer...
Article
In Study one, Fifty young children (3- to 5- year-olds) watched a video and were then interviewed about the video by a Knowledgeable interviewer, who had watched the video with the children, and a Naive interviewer, who had not seen the video. Children were asked yes/no recognition questions, half of which contained misleading suggestions. After fi...

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