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Person description abilities in children, adolescents and adults

Publication Date
  • Description
  • Children
  • Adults
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences
  • Psychology :: Theoretical & Cognitive Psychology [H12]
  • Sciences Sociales & Comportementales
  • Psychologie :: Psychologie Cognitive & Théorique [H12]


Sans titre-1 Person description abilities in children, adolescents and adults. Valentine Vanootighem *, Serge Brédart *, Hedwige Dehon * • Research has shown that childrenʼs descriptions are significantly less detailed than those of adolescents and adults (e.g., Davies et al., 1989; Pozzulo & Warren, 2003). However, participants in these studies were presented with a live target interaction in conditions that may have distracted the participants from processing the target. • The aim of this study was to realize a further inspection of person descriptive abilities of children (7-8, 10-11-year-old), adolescents (13-14-year-old) and adults, using a method that did not include any potential distracting stimulus. Types of descriptor (e.g. internal and external facial features and subjective details) provided as a function of age were examined and discussed. BACKGROUND • As in studies presenting a live event interaction to participants (e.g., Davies et al., 1989; Pozzulo & Warren, 2003), we found that younger children provided less detailed descriptions that older children and adults. • We found that the types of descriptor provided by witnesses change as a function of age. As in previous studies, we found that younger children recalled fewer IFF than older children and adults (Pozzulo & Warren, 2003). More precisely, we found that younger children provided more EFF than IFF. The explanation for this result could be that children might focus on EFF initially because they are more salient. With increasing age, IFF are more observed, encoded, and recalled, along with exterior facial features. IFF may be more difficult to describe, requiring a richer vocabulary. Moreover, in order to describe IFF, one may need to be able to describe subtle differences between features, an ability that may emerge later in childhood (Carey & Diamond, 1977). • However, we found that older children, adolescents and adults provided more IFF than EFF. This finding is not in line with some studies suggesting tha

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