Can Criteria-Based Content Analysis Distinguish between True and False Statements of African-American Speakers?
AbstractThe Criteria-Based Content Analysis (CBCA) technique is the core component of the Statement Validity Assessment (SVA), an interviewing process that attempts to judge allegations of child sexual abuse for truthfulness. As the nucleus of the SVA, the CBCA has been promoted as a way to detect truth by analyzing the verbal content of such an allegation. However, all conclusions of the CBCA ‘s usefulness as an indicator of truth have been based on European and/or White perspectives, and this is the first study to address the implications of probable differences of verbal content meaning across ethnic groups. The results failed to support the hypotheses that Black speakers’ truthful statements contained fewer criteria than Whites’ statements, or that CBCA training would only enhance truth detection of White speakers. First, in contrast to earlier work, the present study found that, despite the fact that true and false statements contained criteria to differing degrees. the total number of CBCA criteria in an adult’s statement was uncorrelated with truthfulness for statements made by Blacks or by Whites. A discriminant analysis showed that CBCA verbal content criteria did, in fact, have different significance for Whites than for Blacks. Certain CBCA criteria were stronger predictors of truth for one ethnic group than for the other. It is suggested that more research is needed before the CBCA is relied upon in criminal investigations.