Children's trust in the testimony of physically disabled or obese individuals
thesisposted on 23.05.2021, 19:04 authored by Sara Jaffer
Previous research has examined various factors that influence children’s trust in testimony. However, no studies have yet looked at children’s willingness to trust physically disabled or obese individuals. Evidence shows that children’s perception of the physically disabled may be both positive and negative, whereas their perception of overweight individuals is negative. Given these attitudes, Study 1 examined the possibility that children may place less trust in these individuals and their testimony. Four- and 5-year-old children were asked to endorse the testimony of one speaker (physically abled and non-obese vs physically disabled/obese) when conflicting testimony was provided. The results showed that children favoured the testimony of the physically abled and non-obese individual at a level significantly above chance. In Study 2, physical condition was pitted against past reliability, and 4- and 5-year-olds were asked to choose between a previously unreliable physically abled and non-obese individual or a previously reliable physically disabled or obese individual. The results indicated that overall children did not show a significant preference for one individual over another. In line with previous findings on children’s negative perceptions of physically disabled and obese individuals, children place less trust in their testimony, and past reliability might cancel out this effect.