(Received 18 March 1989; accepted 19 June 1989)
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Although children are being more frequently called as witnesses in court proceedings, they often do not tell the truth. If lying is defined as giving a false statement for personal gain, then lying is only one of several causes for children not giving an accurate account of events. Other reasons include an immature brain, a congenitally acquired defect in the central nervous system, or the presence of an emotional disturbance such as psychosis or hysteria. The desire of a child to please others—that is, parents, therapists, or lawyers—may also result in an invalid statement. These factors and motivations should be considered in trying to interpret a youngster's statement.
Martin Kaplan, J
Professor of clinical pediatrics, Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
Stock #: JFS12872J