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Ask the Expert with Jason Dickinson: How Children Talk About Events - Implications for Analyzing Eyewitness Reports

Date: May 21, 2020

Time: 10:00 - 11:30 am

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Course Description:

Knowledge of how children talk about events can help forensic interviewers select effective questions.  This knowledge is also crucial for distinguishing between true contradictions and inconsistencies that might have stemmed from language immaturity or other issues.  Drawing on numerous examples from laboratory transcripts, this question/answer session is a tour of how children’s minds work during interviews and how interviewers can respond to increase the amount of accurate information reported during conversations. Dr. Dickinson will present a summary of his research and then answer any specific questions you may have.

Following this webinar, participants will be able to: Provide at least two examples of techniques interviewers can use to increase the amount of accurate information provided during a forensic interview, give examples of two effective questions for forensic interviews of children and provide methods for distinguishing between true contradictions and inconsistencies of language.

Participants will have the chance to submit their questions before and during the session. This training is geared toward forensic interviewers and members of multi-disciplinary investigation teams. Continuing education units (CEUs) will be available and participants can sign up for credit following the session.


Jason Dickinson, Ph.D.

Jason J. Dickinson, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology, Acting Chair of the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy, and the Director of the Robert D. McCormick Center for Child Advocacy and Policy at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey.

His research on children’s eyewitness testimony (understanding how children remember, misremember, forget, and tell about events they’ve experienced) is designed to identify strategies for questioning children in forensic contexts and increase the accuracy of legal decision-making in cases involving children. He frequently consults with defense attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement, and the child protection community to help translate research findings into public policy, inform investigative practices, and evaluate the reliability of children's testimony.

He co-directs the Talking Lab ( in collaboration with Dr. Debra Poole of Central Michigan University. The lab’s ongoing NSF supported research on tele-forensic interviewing has been instrumental in shaping policy and training initiatives for conducting tele-forensic interviews with children during the Covid-19 pandemic. In March of 2020, he organized the national working group that led to the Emergency Tele-Forensic Interviewing Guidelines.

Dr. Dickinson teaches introduction to psychology, forensic psychology, and statistics for psychology majors.

If you have any questions or comments please contact Kellie Prather at


Produced by the Center for Innovation and Resources, Inc. (CIR) with funding from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), Victim Services Branch with funding made possible through the United States Department of Justice, Victims of Crime Act, 2015-VA-GX-0058.

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