Get access

The Role of Culture and Language in Avoiding Misinformation: Pilot Findings


Correspondence to: Cagla Aydin, Sabancı University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences OrtaMahalle, UniversiteCaddesi No: 27 34956 Tuzla- Istanbul, Turkey. E-mail:


In two pilot studies, we investigate the possibility that patterns in our linguistic environment affect the likelihood of accepting misinformation. Turkish, which marks its verbs for the source of a speaker's evidence (first-hand perception vs. hearsay), was contrasted with English which does not mark its verbs but which, to signal strength of evidence, must employ optional lexical marking. In the first pilot study, Turkish adults were shown to be affected by that language's obligatory evidential markings: their free recall for details of the events changed as a function of the type of the tense-aspect marker in use, and strong evidential markers led to increased levels of suggestibility when employed with misleading questions. In the second pilot study, Turkish- and English-speaking children were shown to be differentially suggestible depending on combinations of evidential markers in the story presented and the evidential marker employed in the misinformation subsequently provided. Together, these two pilot studies show promise in this area of research, which has been ignored by the forensic community and yet would seem to be relevant when interviewing, taking statements, and giving testimony in cross-linguistic settings. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.