I’ll show you what I witnessed. Children’s abilities to use non-anatomical dolls in forensic interviewing
Two studies examined the effectiveness of using non-anatomical (non-AD) dolls as an interview tool, to aid children's communication about body positioning. In the first study, 49 6-8-year-old children took part in a game. Thirty minutes to an hour later, they were interviewed using the Specialist Child Witness Interview model. This was done verbally or with the opportunity to use non-AD dolls to clarify their own and others' body positioning. There was no difference in the amount of information reported nor the accuracy of children's reports when comparing both conditions. To complement the first study, the second study examined jurors' perceptions of children's abilities to use non-AD dolls. Non-AD dolls were generally thought to be helpful, but jurors identified some risks. However, jurors did not have strong beliefs about how non-AD dolls would influence the evidence that children provided. When jurors viewed a video of a child recounting a past event, their beliefs about non-AD dolls were more influential when evaluating a child's credibility than whether or not a non-AD doll was used during the interview. Overall, even when used in conjunction with evidence-based techniques, these findings do not support the use of non-AD dolls to help communicate body positioning in child forensic interviewing.