Professor Thomas D. Lyon oversees the USC Child Interviewing Lab and Mobile Center which focuses on the maltreatment of children and identifies ways of encouraging children to provide truthful information about abuse, with higher accuracy and reduced trauma to the child. The Lab conducts cutting-edge research on child witness testimony and is one of the only labs in the country to conduct research and forensic interviews in this field of study.

In addition to providing forensic interviews, the Mobile Center visits with hundreds of children on-site at their schools to research cognitive and motivational factors to elicit complete and accurate reporting of their experiences. Graduate students also participate in the lab, providing them with valuable training and direct experience. The lab’s impact extends further with online training opportunities for forensic interviewers across the country.

The USC Child Interviewing Lab conducts research at the intersection of psychology and law. Our work focuses largely on children as witnesses in the legal system. Our team performs laboratory and field research in the efforts of developing forensic interviewing practices that 1.) elicit detailed and accurate reports from child witnesses and 2) minimize the risk of false report. 

In order to achieve this goal, our team utilizes a multi-method approach. First, we analyze forensic interview and court transcripts to identify problematic questioning strategies and topics that are currently being used by legal professionals. Second, we develop laboratory paradigms to systematically examine alternative interview practices. Finally, we bring our research back into the field and evaluate the new practices in forensic interviews conducted by our team.

Join the Team

With the aim of helping as many people as possible, we always lack enthusiastic help. Please contact us for more info.