(2007) Human Studies 30 (3).

Child's play

anatomically correct dolls and embodiment

Talia Welsh

pp. 255-267

Anatomically detailed dolls have been used to elicit testimony from children in sex abuse cases. However, studies have shown they often provide false accounts in young, preschool-age children. Typically this problem is seen as a cognitive one: with age, children can correctly map their bodies onto a doll due to greater intellectual ability to represent themselves. I argue, along with the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, that although cognitive developments aid in the ability to represent one's own body, a discussion of embodiment is required in order to understand the use and abuse of anatomical dolls in forensic interviews. This paper examines these issues and maintains that a better understanding of embodied perception in both adults and children helps show how phenomenology can provide a more nuanced understanding to a troubling ethical and legal problem.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s10746-007-9058-5

Full citation:

Welsh, T. (2007). Child's play: anatomically correct dolls and embodiment. Human Studies 30 (3), pp. 255-267.

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