The relative influence of leading questions and negative feedback on response change on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (2). Implications for forensic interviewing

Psychology Crime and Law (Impact Factor: 0.69). 01/2012; 18:1-9. DOI: 10.1080/1068316X.2011.631538

ABSTRACT The ‘Shift’ or response change measure of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales
(GSS 1 and 2) is assumed primarily to indicate acceptance of the negative
feedback component of the GSS procedure. Using an adapted version of the
question set that bears on the GSS 2 narrative, this study systematically varied the
pressurising influences of the GSS 2 specifically to test this assumption. In four
conditions, negative and neutral feedback were administered either with leading
or non-leading questions. Varying type of feedback to participants resulted in
significant differences in Shift scores. In line with the theorised bases of the scales,
the leading questions component of the GSS was found to have no significant
independent effect on Shift and to be no more effective than non-leading
questions in influencing this measure. The study also lent support to two previous
studies, which have shown that negative feedback in the absence of leading
questions alters average response change to a reliable degree (10%), suggesting a
useful norm for adapted versions of the GSS procedure. It is argued that the
influence of feedback on response change in interviews merits more attention
from researchers than it has previously received.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. Research using the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales (GSS) has found interrogative suggestibility (IS) to vary as a function of the overall demeanour of the interviewer, warnings about the presence of misleading information, and the self-esteem of the interviewee, as outlined by Gudjonsson and Clark (1986). The present study attempted to assess how these factors interact.Method. The study had a three-factor between-participants design: interviewer demeanour × instructional manipulation × self-esteem. One hundred and twenty undergraduates took part in the study.Results. Participants reporting lower self-esteem scored higher on the GSS ‘Shift’ measure than participants reporting higher levels of self-esteem. Participants faced with a ‘Friendly’ interviewer scored lower on the GSS Yield 1 and Total Suggestibility measures than did those participants faced with a more ‘Abrupt’ interviewer. Participants warned about the presence of misleading information scored lower on Yield 1 and Total Suggestibility. A potentially key finding was that participants who received a warning demonstrated an increased number of Shifts in the Friendly condition compared with those who were not warned. In the Abrupt condition this pattern was reversed.Conclusion. The results supported studies showing that all three variables tested affect levels of IS but further suggested that optimal interviewer support for interviewees' discrepancy detection may be provided either by a relaxed interviewer manner or by warnings alone, but not by both.
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    ABSTRACT: Much experimental research on interrogative pressure has concentrated on the effects of leading questions, and the role of feedback in influencing responses in the absence of leading questions has been neglected by comparison. This study assessed the effect of negative feedback and the presence of a second interviewer on interviewee responding in simulated forensic interviews. Participants viewed a videotape of a crime, answered questions about the clip and were requestioned after receiving feedback. Compared with neutral feedback, negative feedback resulted in more response changes, higher reported state anxiety and higher ratings of interview difficulty. These results are consistent with Gudjonsson and Clark's (1986) model of interrogative suggestibility. The presence and involvement of a second interviewer did not significantly affect interviewee responding, although trait anxiety scores were elevated when a second interviewer was present. The theoretical and applied implications of these findings are considered.
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Jun 5, 2014