Stefanie J Sharman

Stefanie J Sharman
Deakin University · School of Psychology

Bsc(Hons), PhD

About

84
Publications
22,342
Reads
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1,153
Citations
Citations since 2016
35 Research Items
711 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100120140
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100120140
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100120140
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100120140
Additional affiliations
September 2009 - present
Deakin University
January 2004 - December 2008
UNSW Sydney
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 1998 - December 2003
Victoria University of Wellington

Publications

Publications (84)
Article
For crimes such as child abuse and family violence, jurors' assessments of memory reports from key witnesses are vital to case outcomes in court. Since jurors are not experts on memory, the present research measured laypeople's (i.e., non-experts') beliefs about how three key factors affect witnesses' memory reports for an experienced event: how fr...
Article
Witnesses often need to describe individual episodes of repeated crimes, such as family violence. Suggestive questions containing incorrect information reduce the accuracy of adults’ reports of single events; in the current experiment, we examined the effects of suggestive questions on adults’ reports of one episode of a repeated event. Over two we...
Article
Full-text available
We explored adults’ perceptions of evidence-based interview frameworks in the context of sexual assault, in order to examine stakeholders’ suggestions that police interviews are not sensitive to complainants psychological and emotional needs. Participants (N= 91) watched a video of an implied sexual assault and were randomly assigned to one of thre...
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Providing child forensic interviewers with ongoing opportunities for feedback is critical to maintaining their interviewing skills. Given practical difficulties with engaging experts to provide this feedback (such as costs and workloads), the current paper explores whether a structured evaluation tool can assist police interviewers to accurately pe...
Article
Remembering specific episodes of a repeated event can be challenging for witnesses. A mental context reinstatement (MCR) instruction increases the number of accurate details that adults report about a single (i.e., non-repeated) event; we examined whether it is similarly beneficial for adults' reports of a repeated event. Ninety-six participants co...
Article
Witnesses reporting repeated crimes – like family violence – must report detailed information about individual incidents. Previously, recalling generic information about a repeated event before individual episodes has helped children report more information overall. The current study examined whether adults would also benefit from recalling generic...
Article
Adults’ assessments of the credibility of children’s reports are affected by factors including the frequency of abuse, reporting delays and the child’s age. The present study examined whether similar factors affect the perceived credibility of children reporting physical abuse, which is more common than sexual abuse. Two hundred and eight mock juro...
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The literature regarding formative assessment and Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) has focused on the ways in which formative assessment improves SRL. This study, on the other hand, evaluated whether SRL characteristics impact successful engagement with formative assessment, and subsequent summative performance in both online and blended learning cont...
Article
Two studies examined the immediate and longer-term impact of specialist training on sexual assault investigators’ use of best-practice questions and relationship evidence. Investigators completed mock suspect interviews immediately and 9–12 months following a 4-week specialist course that concentrated on the Whole Story approach to sexual offence i...
Article
Children from Indigenous cultures experience higher rates of abuse than non-Indigenous children, and their cases face extra challenges progressing through the legal system. When abuse is reported, an investigative interview is conducted with the child. The current study aimed to examine interviewers’ perceptions of interviewing Aboriginal Australia...
Article
The typical misinformation effect shows that accuracy is lower for details about which people received misleading compared to non‐misleading (control) information. In two experiments, we examined the misinformation effect for non‐witnessed details (i.e., absent). Three question types introduced control, misleading, and absent details (closed, close...
Article
A key cross-examination tactic in trials of child sexual abuse (CSA) is to highlight inconsistencies between sources of information to discredit the complainant's account. The present study examined the prevalence, origin and nature of inconsistencies arising in the cross-examination of complainants in CSA trials. Further, we examined the associati...
Article
The present study tested the effectiveness of narrative practice on adult witnesses’ reports about a mock sexual assault. Narrative practice is a rapport-building activity that involves recounting a neutral or pleasant event prior to discussing the target topic. Engaging in narrative practice tends to enhance children’s reporting, but its utility w...
Article
We examined whether specialist training can have an immediate and lasting impact on investigators’ attitudes in sexual offense cases. Australian police officers participated in a 4-week training program that focused on the dynamics of sexual offending. Officers completed questionnaires before, immediately after, and 9 to 12 months following trainin...
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Full-text available
Child witness interviews frequently comprise the central evidence in child sexual assault prosecutions. The aim of the present study was to explore the association between interview quality, interview inconsistencies raised during cross-examination, and trial outcome, while taking into account the strength of the prosecution case. Sixty-nine interv...
Chapter
Special measures are alternative modes of evidence presentation by vulnerable witnesses, such as child and adult complainants in child sexual assault (CSA) cases. They include closed-circuit television (CCTV) and prerecorded investigative interviews. This chapter reviews studies on special measures to determine (a) the prevalence of special measure...
Article
This study explored police officers’ perceptions of specialist training for sexual offence investigations, as well as the skills and qualities needed to investigate sexual crime. The sample included 41 Australian police officers who completed anonymous questionnaires before, immediately after, and 9–12 months following a 4-week intensive course tha...
Article
In many jurisdictions, child witness interviews are pre-recorded and played in court as complainants’ evidence-in-chief in cases of child sexual abuse (CSA). The present study examined whether and how legal professionals discuss child witness interviews in the course of CSA trials. The trial transcripts of a sample of 85 child sexual abuse complain...
Article
Exposure to parental violence can have devastating consequences for children, including significant personal, social, and academic problems. The present study determined the situational factors that are associated with children’s exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) incidents. To examine whether these factors were unique to child witnesses’...
Article
Adequate interviewing of alleged victims of child sexual abuse is critical for the investigation and for preserving the welfare of the child. Investigative interview protocols for children (IIPCs) have been developed to meet this twofold purpose. This article focuses on one previously unexplored issue related to applicability of IIPCs: how well the...
Article
Much research has tested techniques to improve children’s reporting of episodes from a repeated event by interviewing children after they have experienced multiple episodes of a scripted event. However, these studies have not considered any effects of the similarity shared between event episodes on children’s reports. In the current study, 5- to 9-...
Article
Child sexual abuse (CSA) trials may feature evidence relating to behaviours beyond the charges laid. This ‘other misconduct’ evidence can add context to the offending and may relate to more than one complaint or victim, indicating a pattern of thinking and behaviour, or that multiple incidents are unlikely to be coincidental. Directions to the jury...
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This study examined children’s responses to two alternate prompts used to transition to the substantive phase of an interview. Children (N = 401) experienced four scripted events and were later interviewed. After rapport building, half of the children were asked, “Tell me what you’re here to talk to me about today,” whereas the other half were aske...
Article
Previous research has found that children's reports of repeated events can be influenced by the presence and type of narrative practice in which they engage immediately prior to substantive recall. In particular, children's reports have been shown to benefit from practice providing narratives about an autobiographical repeated event. A gap remains,...
Article
The ability to describe individual episodes of repeated events (such as ongoing abuse) can enhance children’s testimony and assist the progression of their cases through the legal system. Open-ended prompts have been advocated as a means to assist children in accurately retrieving information about individual episodes. In the current study, two sub...
Article
The current study investigated (a) the effect of legislative reforms and amendments to judges’ directions to juries in the success of appeals against conviction for child sexual abuse and (b) the role of delay between the offence(s) and the trial in these appeals. Appeals listed in the Victorian Court of Appeal in Australia between 2004 and 2014 we...
Article
Despite much research into children's ability to report information from an individual episode of a repeated event, their capacity to identify well-remembered episodes is unknown. Children (n = 177) from Grades 1 to 3 participated in four episodes of a repeated event and were later asked to recall the time that they remembered ‘best’ and then ‘anot...
Article
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Legal representatives engage psychologists to provide expert witness opinions about a number of factors, including the psychological factors that may have contributed to the perpetrator's behaviour and the likelihood of reoffending. Although this evidence can affect the outcome of proceedings, little is known about how the experts who provide it ar...
Article
Children’s disclosures of sexual abuse during forensic interviews are fundamental to the investigation of cases. Research examining the relationship between age and disclosure has shown mixed results; the aim of the current study was to clarify and extend our knowledge by modeling linear, quadratic, and interaction effects of age on disclosure. Chi...
Article
Interpreters play a crucial role in many investigative interviews with child complainants of sexual abuse; however, little has been written about the interpreting process from the perspective of the interviewers. This study elicited interviewers’ perspectives about the challenges of using interpreters, with the aim of understanding how investigativ...
Article
Most child sexual abuse cases do not result in a full trial or guilty plea; rather, case attrition occurs at earlier stages of the criminal justice system. One reason for the attrition of these cases is the withdrawal of complaints, by children or their caregivers. The aim of the current study was to determine the case characteristics associated wi...
Article
Most child sexual abuse cases do not result in conviction; rather, they result in attrition at an earlier point in the system. Although research has looked at case characteristics associated with attrition at later stages of the system (i.e. the laying of charges and prosecution stages), to date, no research has studied the case characteristics ass...
Article
Background: Investigative interviewing is a critical and challenging skill involved in the assessment and design of appropriate interventions for children's dietary problems. The current study provided an evaluation of the challenges faced by professional dieticians when conducting child investigative interviews, in the hope that this would provid...
Article
Background: Understanding the relationship between children's dietary consumption and health is important. As such, it is crucial to explore factors related to the accuracy of children's reports of what they consumed. Objective: The objective was to evaluate factors related to the accuracy of self-reported dietary intake information elicited by...
Article
Despite the widespread use of ground rules in forensic interview guidelines, it is unknown whether children retain and apply these rules throughout narrative interviews. We evaluated the capacity of 260 five- to nine-year-olds to utilize three ground rules. At the beginning of the interview all children heard the rules; half also practiced them. Ch...
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Mental health professionals assist Australian courts and tribunals with explanations about human behaviour and mental processes related to offending behaviour. Contrary to other witnesses who are only allowed to give evidence in relation to what they directly heard or saw, mental health professionals are allowed to express opinions because they are...
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This study examined the association between the quality of verbal evidence in cases of sexual assault reported by adults and professionals’ (police and prosecutor) ratings of the likelihood that the cases will result in a conviction at trial. Sixteen police detectives and 19 prosecutors (all specialists in sexual assault) each read two mock sexual...
Article
Full-text available
Child sexual abuse cases often do not result in convictions; this attrition is due to factors inside and outside the control of the justice system. The aims of the current study were to: (1) establish the most important factors in contributing to the attrition of child sexual abuse; and (2) suggest ways to reduce the attrition associated with these...
Article
The aim of this experiment was to examine the effectiveness of two techniques in enhancing children's recall of an event that they experienced approximately a week earlier. Younger (5–6 years) and older (8–9 years) children were interviewed about a magic show event in one of three conditions. Before recalling the event, some children were instructe...
Article
To determine whether the encoding of misleading information presented in two different types of leading questions (closed specific and open presumptive questions) could be disrupted, participants took part in a misinformation experiment. They viewed an event before answering questions that had a closed specific structure (e.g. “Did the robber have...
Article
Adults with an intellectual disability (ID) are often considered poor witnesses; however, this may depend on the type of questions asked during investigative interviews. We examined the impact of four different types of misleading questions commonly used in interviews. These questions varied in their specificity, presumptive knowledge and structure...
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This study examined the incidence and nature of the errors made by trainee coders during their coding of question types in interviews in which children disclosed abuse. Three groups of trainees (online, postgraduate and police) studied the coding manual before practising their question coding. After this practice, participants were given two-page f...
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The effect of mental reinstatement on children's recall is unclear. One factor that may impact its effectiveness is the degree to which interviewers prompt children during an interview. We examined whether interviewers' degree of narrative prompting moderated the effect of mental context reinstatement during children's recall of a staged event. You...
Article
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Children and adults with intellectual disabilities have traditionally been considered poor witnesses because they are easily misled and produce less accurate information in interviews when compared with individuals without intellectual disabilities. However, witnesses' levels of accuracy depend on the types of questions that they are asked, such as...
Article
Landmark events are strong memories that function as reference points for other memories. We examined whether people's accuracy in recalling when an earlier target event occurred was related to whether they spontaneously used personal landmark events or not. Participants completed two questionnaires separated by 2-31 days. In the first, they descri...
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The aim of this study was to examine police officers' beliefs about how children report abuse. Fifty-two officers read transcripts of nine interviews, which were conducted with actual children or adults playing the role of the child witness. Officers indicated whether they thought the interviews were with an actual child and justified their decisio...
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We examined whether the cognitive interview (CI) procedure enhanced the coherence of narrative accounts provided by children with and without intellectual disabilities (ID), matched on chronological age. Children watched a videotaped magic show; one day later, they were interviewed using the CI or a structured interview (SI). Children interviewed u...
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We examined whether the cognitive interview (CI) procedure increased event recall in children with severe intellectual disabilities (ID) compared with children with no ID. Forty-six children with and without ID watched a videotaped event; they were aged between eight and 11 years. The next day they were individually interviewed using the CI or a st...
Article
To examine whether exposing people to false events using instructions taken from the cognitive interview creates false beliefs and false memories, we conducted an experiment where participants took part in two sessions. First, they rated how confident they were that they had experienced certain childhood events and their memories of those events; t...
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Practice during investigative interview training is crucial for interviewers to develop the ability to adhere consistently to best-practice interview procedures. Given the constraints around using trained actors in the role of the child during practice interviews, this study examined whether officers themselves were able to play this role in a mann...
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We present three studies examining the role of prior job experience in interviewing and interviewers’ ability to learn open-ended questions during a training program. We predicted a negative relationship such that more experienced interviewers would perform worse after training than less experienced interviewers, and that (irrespective of baseline...
Article
Interviewers given prior information are biassed to seek it from interviewees. We examined whether the detrimental impact of this confirmation bias in terms of leading question use was moderated by interviewers' demonstrated ability to adhere to open questions. We classified interviewers' adherence as ‘good’ or ‘poor’ in an independent interview be...
Article
The current study directly compared witnesses' susceptibility to suggestion across various structures of misleading interview questions. We examined four question structures that varied on numerous dimensions; whether they narrowed the response option to yes or no, whether they included highly specific detail about the witnessed event and whether t...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive Interview instructions increase children's recall of events; one important instruction is the mental reinstatement of context. We examined one factor that may affect mental context reinstatement: whether children had the opportunity to freely recall the event before answering cued recall questions. One hundred and fifty-two children aged...
Article
Full-text available
Typically, asking people to reinstate the context of events increases their recall of those events; however, research findings have been mixed with children. We tested whether the principle underlying context reinstatement applies to children as it does to adults. This underlying principle, encoding specificity, suggests that the greater the overla...
Article
Full-text available
The current study explored the effectiveness of note-taking instructions to increase the completeness and accuracy of professionals’ contemporaneous written notes of child abuse interviews. Police members had their base-line note-taking assessed before receiving brief instructions focusing on layout style, abbreviations, and question codes. Partici...
Article
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Although it is extremely important when interviewing children about alleged abuse to determine whether the abuse was a single or a repeated occurrence, we have little information about how children judge the frequency of events. The aim of the current study was to examine children's accuracy in providing estimates of event frequency that were numer...
Article
Full-text available
The current study explored the effectiveness of note-taking instructions to increase the completeness and accuracy of professionals' contemporaneous written notes of child abuse interviews. Police members had their base-line note-taking assessed before receiving brief instructions focusing on layout style, abbreviations, and question codes. Partici...
Article
Full-text available
To investigate whether people show retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) for bizarre and familiar actions that they performed or observed, three experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, participants performed bizarre and familiar actions with different objects during learning (e.g., pencil: balance the pencil across the cup, sharpen the pencil). T...
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To investigate the effects of mood on people's end-of-life treatment decisions and their false memories of those decisions, participants took part in two sessions. At Time 1, participants were experimentally induced into positive or negative moods. They decided whether they would want to receive or refuse treatments in a range of hypothetical medic...
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People are motivated to remember past autobiographical experiences related to their current goals; we investigated whether people are also motivated to remember false past experiences related to those goals. In Session 1, we measured subjects' implicit and explicit achievement and affiliation motives. Subjects then rated their confidence about, and...
Article
In two experiments, we examined the effects of high and low levels of dysphoria on retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) of positive and negative autobiographical memories. In Experiment 1, participants took part in an RIF procedure that was adapted for autobiographical memories. Regardless of level of dysphoria, participants showed facilitation for b...
Article
To examine the effects of high and low false prevalence information from different sources on false beliefs, subjects took part in two sessions. In the first session, subjects rated the plausibility of different childhood events, how confident they were that they had experienced those events and their memories of those events. In the second session...
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To examine the effects of event plausibility on people's false beliefs and memories for imagined childhood events, subjects took part in a three-stage procedure. First, subjects rated how confident they were that they had experienced certain childhood events. They also rated their memories of the events. Second, 1 week later, subjects imagined one...
Article
We explored whether event recency and valence affect people's susceptibility to imagination inflation. Using a three-stage procedure, subjects imagined positive and negative events happening in their distant or recent past. First, subjects rated how confident they were that they had experienced particular positive and negative events in childhood o...
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To examine people's false memories for end-of-life decisions. In Study 1, older adults decided which life-sustaining treatments they would want if they were seriously ill. They made these judgments twice, approximately 12 months apart. At Time 2, older adults and their self-selected surrogate decision makers tried to recall the older adults' Time 1...
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Pezdek and Lam [Pezdek, K. & Lam, S. (2007). What research paradigms have cognitive psychologists used to study "False memory," and what are the implications of these choices? Consciousness and Cognition] claim that the majority of research into false memories has been misguided. Specifically, they charge that false memory scientists have been (1)...
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Full-text available
Can a placebo for a psychotropic drug help participants resist the misinformation effect? To answer this question, we gave participants a mixture of baking soda and water and told half of them that the mixture was a cognition-enhancing drug called R273 and told the other half that it was an inactive version of the drug. Shortly thereafter, all part...
Article
To examine personal and interpersonal reality monitoring, 240 participants wrote accounts of invented or self-experienced autobiographical events. Half the participants wrote about a distant event that happened before the age of 15 and half wrote about a recent event that happened after the age of 15. Using a yoked design, participants rated the qu...
Article
The memory (and hypnosis) lab at the University of New South Wales investigates a broad range of memory topics. We try to find innovative methods from cognitive and clinical psychology to address theoretical and empirical questions about memory. We aso use hypnosis as one major methodological tool in our investigations of memory (as well as other c...
Article
We examined the qualitative characteristics of genuine, imagined, and deceptive accounts of positive and negative childhood events. We investigated whether trained raters could discriminate between these accounts using the Memory Characteristics Questionnaire (MCQ; Johnson, Foley, Suengas, & Raye, 1988) and the Aberdeen Report Judgment Scales (ARJS...
Article
To investigate whether people can resist imagination inflation--the imagination-induced increased confidence that fictitious childhood events really happened--we gave them different types of cues. In a three-stage procedure, participants: (1) rated their confidence that a list of childhood events had happened to them, (2) imagined some of these eve...
Article
To examine whether explaining hypothetical childhood events makes people more confident that the events really happened, we used a method similar to the imagination inflation procedure devised by Garry, Manning, Loftus, and Sherman (1996). First, participants rated how confident they were that a list of events occurred in their childhood. Two weeks...
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To examine the effects of exposure to complex autobiographical events on imagination inflation, subjects performed a 3-stage procedure. First, they rated their confidence that a list of events had happened in their childhood. Second, subjects imagined and paraphrased complex fictitious events 0, 1, 3, or 5 times. Finally, they rated their confidenc...