Christian A. Meissner

Christian A. Meissner
Iowa State University | ISU · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

126
Publications
216,143
Reads
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7,985
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Introduction
Dr. Meissner is Professor of Psychology at Iowa State University, where he Directs the Applied Cognition Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive & Behavioral Science from Florida State University (2001). His research uses experimental methodologies to examine cognitive psychological processes in forensic, military, and human intelligence settings, including strategies and tactics that facilitate the disclosure of information and the assessment of credibility in interviews and interrogations, factors that influence eyewitness memory and lineup identification, the influence of extra-legal biases on juror decision-making, and aspects of human perception and judgement bias in comparative forensic science decisions.
Additional affiliations
August 2013 - present
Iowa State University
Position
  • Professor
August 2005 - July 2013
University of Texas at El Paso
Position
  • CEO
August 2001 - July 2005
Florida International University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
August 1996 - May 2001
Florida State University
Field of study
  • Psychology
August 1992 - May 1996
Pfeiffer University
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (126)
Chapter
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Interviewing and interrogation practices have evolved over the past century. “Third degree” methods of physical and psychological coercion were replaced by psychologically-manipulative tactics that seek a confession; however, it was not until instances of false confession that led to wrongful conviction came to light that investigative interviewing...
Article
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Objectives To compare the efficacy of a psychologically-based contact tracing interview protocol to a control protocol that emulated current practices under both interviewer-led and self-led modalities. Methods This randomized controlled experiment utilized a 2 × 2 factorial design (Enhanced Cognitive protocol vs. Control protocol; Interviewer-led...
Article
Eyewitness identifications play a key role in the justice system, but eyewitnesses can make errors, often with profound consequences. We used findings from basic science and innovative technologies to develop and test whether a novel interactive lineup procedure, wherein witnesses can rotate and dynamically view the lineup faces from different angl...
Chapter
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Psycholegal research is, by design, a field devoted to evaluating and addressing issues that directly affect the justice system. At the same time, many scholars in the field have experienced first-hand the frustrations of bridging the divide between research and policy or practice. In this chapter we discuss key issues and challenges involved in br...
Chapter
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Investigative interviews are an essential tool for any criminal investigation and are conducted across a variety of contexts and subject populations. In each context, key psychological processes function to regulate communication between an interviewer and a subject – from developing rapport and trust, to facilitating memory retrieval, to assessing...
Article
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Study Objectives Despite centuries of using sleep deprivation to interrogate, there is virtually no scientific evidence on how sleep shapes behavior within interrogation settings. To evaluate the impact of sleeplessness on subjects’ behavior during investigative interviews, an experimental study examined the impact of sleep restriction on disclosur...
Article
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Rapport-based approaches have become a central tenet of investigative interviewing with suspects and sources. Here we explored the utility of using rapport-building tactics (i.e., self-disclosure and interviewer feedback) to overcome barriers to cooperation in the interviewing domain. Across two experiments using the illegal behaviors paradigm (Dia...
Article
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Objective: The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of a rapport-based approach to interviewing that includes productive questioning skills, conversational rapport, and relational rapport-building tactics. Hypotheses: We predicted that training police investigators in a rapport-based approach would significantly increase the use of r...
Chapter
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Eyewitness memory represents an inherently applied research problem, wherein scholars have increased public awareness of the problem of mistaken eyewitness identification and successfully developed policies and procedures that will increase the diagnostic value of an identification. At the same time, a tension has long existed between those that ha...
Article
The current article presents a series of commentaries on urgent issues and prospects in reforming interrogation practices in Canada and the United States. Researchers and practitioners, who have devoted much of their careers to the field of police and intelligence interrogations, were asked to provide their insights on an area of interrogation rese...
Article
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While the practice of investigative interviewing has traditionally been rooted in customary knowledge, decades of research have now enhanced our understanding of the limits of these practices and led to the development of novel, theoretically informed approaches. The maturity of any science is likely best evidenced in the conduct of systematic revi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Contact tracing is vital to controlling the spread of disease. This process relies on effective recall of past interactions during contact tracing interviews; as such, psychological science suggests that limitations on human memory and cognition could hinder contact tracing efforts. Methods for enhancing memory performance have been widely addresse...
Preprint
Eyewitness identifications play a key role in the justice system, but eyewitnesses make errors, often with profound consequences. Errors are more likely when the witness is of a different race to the suspect, due to a phenomenon called the Own Race Bias (ORB). ORB is characterized as an encoding-based deficit, but has been predominantly tested usin...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The Executive Committee of the American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of the American Psychological Association) appointed a subcommittee to update the influential 1998 scientific review paper on guidelines for eyewitness identification procedures. Method: This was a collaborative effort by six senior eyewitness researchers, who...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The Executive Committee of the American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of the American Psychological Association) appointed a subcommittee to update the influential 1998 scientific review paper on guidelines for eyewitness identification procedures. Method: This was a collaborative effort by six senior eyewitness researchers, who al...
Article
Alcohol-intoxicated suspects’ confessions are admissible in U.S. courts; however, it is unknown how jurors evaluate such confessions. Study 1 assessed potential jurors’ perceptions of intoxication in interrogative contexts. Many respondents were unaware that questioning intoxicated suspects and presenting subsequent confessions in court are legal,...
Article
We examined whether observers' beliefs about deception were affected by a speaker's language proficiency. Laypersons (N = 105) and police officers (N = 75) indicated which nonverbal and verbal behaviors were predictive of native‐ vs. non‐native speakers' deception. In addition, they provided their beliefs about these speakers' interrogation experie...
Chapter
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The critical need for interviewing and interrogation procedures to be grounded in evidence-based approaches is underscored by the tragedy of documented false confession cases, the revival of a national debate in the United States over the utility of torture, and the critical role that human intelligence plays in both law enforcement and intelligenc...
Chapter
Full-text available
Interrogation practices in the U.S. have long relied on customary knowledge — experiential-based knowledge uninformed by behavioral science (Hartwig, Meissner, & Semel, 2014). This reality was highlighted in a multi-year review of interrogation training and practice by the U.S. Intelligence Science Board (ISB) that described contemporary interrogat...
Chapter
Full-text available
Decades of behavioral science research consistently demonstrates the advantages of employing a rapport-based approach to investigative and intelligence interviewing. Evolving from identifying the problematic procedures of accusatorial approaches, current research has turned to a more proactive study of techniques and tactics that align with a rappo...
Article
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Under Title IX, schools in the United States that receive federal financial assistance are legally required to provide a prompt and impartial process for investigating complaints of sex-based discrimination. These investigations critically rely upon information obtained in interviews. We provide an evaluation of interview training that is presently...
Article
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Purpose: Travel document screeners play an important role in international security when determining whether a photo ID matches the tendering individual. Psychological research indicates when conditions involve low base-rates of “imposter” photos, document screeners change their response criterion for rendering a “match” determination. The primary...
Article
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We sought to identify motivations to resist cooperation in intelligence interviews and develop techniques to overcome this resistance. One source of resistance can arise because of concerns for affiliations (e.g., “I do not want to inform on my friends/family/fellow countryman”). We investigated two avenues of rapport building—approach and avoidanc...
Poster
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Confession evidence is exceptionally strong (e.g., Kassin & Neumann, 1997); thus, understanding whether juror characteristics influence their perceptions of confession evidence is crucial to legal players’ trial strategies. Several past studies have found no significant correlations between certain juror demographics/personal beliefs (e.g., race/et...
Article
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Recent findings suggest that priming may be useful for facilitating disclosure in investigative interviews; however, the effects of priming on behavioral outcomes have been mixed. The current studies attempted to replicate the increase in information disclosure when the concept of “openness” is primed. We assessed the separate and combined influenc...
Chapter
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The ability to deceive others relies on the use of cognitive processes to construct a believable falsehood and maintain that lie over time. In this chapter, we discuss research that documents how the act of lying can influence the content of liars’ memories for the occasions when they lied and memories of the original experience. In addition, we de...
Article
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Confessions represent one of the most influential types of evidence, and research has shown that mock jurors often fail to dismiss unreliable confession evidence. However, recent studies suggest that jurors might believe in the false confession phenomenon more than they once did. One possible reason for this could be increased publicity regarding f...
Chapter
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On July 8, 1997, a woman named Michelle Bosko was raped and murder. The evidence suggested a single perpetrator, and the police soon turned their attention her neighbor, Danial Williams. After an overnight interrogation, Danial confessed to the crime. Several months later, however, the DNA excluded him as the rapist. The police subsequently identif...
Article
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A growing body of research has shown that retrieval can enhance future learning of new materials. In the present report, we provide a comprehensive review of the literature on this finding, which we term test-potentiated new learning. Our primary objectives were to: 1) produce an integrative review of the existing theoretical explanations, 2) summa...
Article
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Interrogation practices in the United States have been roundly criticized both for their accusatorial ethos, at times leading to false confessions by the innocent, and for a history of applying physical and psychological coercion in law enforcement, military, and intelligence contexts. Despite decades of psychological research demonstrating the fai...
Article
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Proponents of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ in the United States have claimed that such methods are necessary for obtaining information from uncooperative terrorism subjects. In the present article, we offer an informed, academic perspective on such claims. Psychological theory and research shows that harsh interrogation methods are ineffecti...
Article
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Across three experiments, we assessed the ability of law enforcement officers and naïve controls to detect the concealment of a weapon or device. Study 1 used a classic signal detection paradigm in which participants were asked to assess whether a target was concealing a neutered 9mm handgun. Study 2 involved a compound signal detection paradigm in...
Article
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While research on interrogation has traditionally focused on problematic practices that lead to false confessions, more recent research has addressed the need to develop scientifically validated techniques that lead to accurate information from both suspects and sources. In the present review, we summarize this recent research on building and maint...
Article
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Research on jurors’ perceptions of confession evidence suggests that jurors may not be sensitive to factors that can influence the reliability of a confession. Jurors’ decisions tend not to be influenced by situational pressures to confess, which suggests that jurors commit the correspondence bias when evaluating a confession. One method to potenti...
Article
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This meta-analysis examined whether training improves detection of deception. Overall, 30 studies (22 published and 8 unpublished; control-group design) resulted in a small to medium training effect for detection accuracy (k = 30, gu = 0.331) and for lie accuracy (k = 11, gu = 0.422), but not for truth accuracy (k = 11, gu = 0.060). If participants...
Article
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The last two decades of research on interrogation were spurred, in large part, by the specter of false confessions and the resulting miscarriages of justice. More recently, interest in the topic has been fueled by the need for developing evidence-based methods that improve the collection of diagnostic confession evidence and accurate intelligence f...
Chapter
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This chapter explores new ground by setting forth a multidimensional perspective on interrogations conducted for the purpose of gathering intelligence in support of the global war on terrorism. A series of semi-structured interviews and surveys involving practitioners with a broad array of experiences in the intelligence setting yielded unique data...
Article
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The 2009 NAS report criticized forensic scientists for making insufficient efforts to reduce their vulnerability to cognitive and contextual bias. Over the past few years, however, the field has begun to take steps to address this issue. There have been major workshops on cognitive bias, and the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), as...
Article
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Lie detection research has shown that observers who rely on nonverbal cues or on verbal cues correctly classify on average 54% of truth tellers and liars. In addition, over the years, countless numbers of innocent people have made false confessions and, in analysing the problem, researchers have implicated both a suspect’s vulnerability and the per...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, the authors frame their review of American interrogation practices with a brief history of how control-based, accusatorial methods became the hallmark of law enforcement interrogation in the United States. The most popular training manuals and courses, such as the Kinesic Interview, the Reid Technique, and Wicklander-Zulawski and A...
Article
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Objectives: We completed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available empirical literature assessing the influence of accusatorial and information-gathering methods of interrogation in eliciting true and false confessions. Methods: We conducted two separate meta-analyses. The first meta-analysis focused on observational field studies that...
Article
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Trying to remember something now typically improves your ability to remember it later. However, after watching a video of a simulated bank robbery, participants who verbally described the robber were 25% worse at identifying the robber in a lineup than were participants who instead listed U.S. states and capitals—this has been termed the “verbal ov...
Article
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Despite growing interest in intelligence interviewing, there is little empirical research directly addressing interrogations conducted with the goal of collecting human intelligence (HUMINT). The current study used an experimental intelligence-gathering paradigm to test the efficacy of two clusters of emotion-based interrogation approaches from the...
Article
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The task force that led to the creation of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) recommended that the HIG fund a program of research aimed at establishing scientifically supported interrogative best practices. One of the ways to identify ‘best practices’ is to rely on direct reporting from subject-matter experts. In this study, 42 highl...
Chapter
Full-text available
The purpose of this chapter is to review the available research on Human Intelligence (HUMINT) interrogations. We will argue that there has been a recent paradigm shift in the approach to HUMINT interrogations. We will describe the conceptual, methodological, and practical implications of this paradigm shift. The chapter will be structured as follo...
Chapter
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Recent controversies over the use of psychologically manipulative interrogation methods by U.S. law enforcement, and public concerns regarding the use of physically coercive interrogation methods, have highlighted the need for evidence-based, ethical approaches to facilitate the collection of diagnostic information during interrogation. Over the pa...
Chapter
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Trevaskes S (2010) The shifting sands of punishment in the era of 'harmonious society'. Law Policy 32:332–361 Wang ZF (1989) (ed) Theory and practice of comprehensive management of public order in China. Masses Press, Beijing (in Chinese) Welsh B, Hoshi A (2002) Communities and crime prevention. In: Sherman L, Farrington DP, Welsh BC, MacKenzie DL...
Article
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Psychological research has consistently demonstrated that individuals are better at discriminating faces of their own race when compared with faces of another, less familiar race. Given the racial/ethnic diversity of individuals screened by security personnel at transportation and border checkpoints, it is important to understand whether the cross-...
Article
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This article reports two experiments focusing on two stages of the alibi process. In Experiment 1, participants generated a true or false alibi for one of two dates (short or long delay). Results showed that participants were most likely to report that they could get alibi corroboration from a motivated alibi witnesses regardless of whether they we...
Article
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Substantial research has assessed interrogations seeking to obtain a criminal confession, and consequently much has been learned regarding the potential problems with confession evidence. However, an increasing focus on counter-terrorism, and therefore intelligence interrogations, reveals an obvious gap in the literature. Intelligence interrogation...
Article
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The current set of studies was designed to test a new credibility assessment tool, the Psychologically Based Credibility Assessment Tool (PBCAT). Participants watched lab-generated videos of true and false alibi statements, provided while under varying degrees of cognitive load. Judges either provided a truth/lie judgment only, or also rated 11 beh...
Article
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The cross-race effect (CRE) is the tendency for eyewitnesses to be better at recognizing members of their own race/ethnicity than members of other races/ethnicities. It manifests in terms of both better discrimination (i.e., telling apart previously seen from new targets) and a more conservative response criterion for own-race than for other-race f...
Article
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We conducted a systematic review of the published and unpublished literatures on the interview and interrogation of suspects. Our focus was to examine the impact of accusatorial versus information gathering approaches on the elicitation of confessions. Two meta‐analytic reviews were conducted: one that focused on observational and quasi‐experimenta...
Article
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Identifying interrogation strategies that minimize the likelihood of obtaining false information, without compromising the ability to elicit true information, is a challenge faced by both law enforcement and scientists. Previous research suggests that minimization and maximization techniques may be perceived by a suspect as an expectation of lenien...
Article
The Law and Social Science Program at the National Science Foundation sponsors research projects that develop the theoretical and empirical foundations of legal studies. The Program has supported research in law and psychology, law and society, law and economics, and legal anthropology. In this presentation, the panelists will discuss the role of e...
Article
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Given the impaired facial recognition of autistic individuals, we examined whether certain autism-spectrum traits affected eyewitness identification performance in a general adult population. In a sample of 120 individuals, levels of autism-spectrum traits were examined in relation to performance on simultaneous vs. sequential lineups using a signa...
Article
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The aim of this study was to model various social and cognitive processes believed to be associated with true and false confessions by exploring the link between investigative biases and what occurs in the interrogation room. Using the Russano et al. (Psychol Sci 16:481-486, 2005) paradigm, this study explored how perceptions of guilt influenced th...
Article
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The Cognitive Interview (CI) is a well-established protocol for interviewing witnesses. The current article presents a study space analysis of laboratory studies of the CI together with an empirical meta-analysis summarizing the past 25 years of research. The study space comprises 57 published articles (65 experiments) on the CI, providing an asses...
Article
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Three experiments provide evidence that the conceptualization of moving objects and events is influenced by one's native language, consistent with linguistic relativity theory. Monolingual English speakers and bilingual Spanish/English speakers tested in an English-speaking context performed better than monolingual Spanish speakers and bilingual Sp...
Article
Full-text available
Known as the cross-race effect (CRE), psychological research has consistently shown that people are less accurate at identifying faces of another, less familiar race. While the CRE has most often been demonstrated in recognition memory, its effects have also been found in temporally preceding social-cognitive stages—including racial categorization,...
Book
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Although it is generally believed that wrongful convictions based on false confessions are relatively rare—the 1989 Central Park jogger "wilding" case being the most notorious example—recent exonerations of the innocent through DNA testing are increasing at a rate that few in the criminal justice system might have speculated. Because of the growing...
Conference Paper
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Virtual humans are animated, lifelike characters capable of free-speech and nonverbal interaction with human users. In this paper, we describe the development of two virtual human characters for teaching the skill of deception detection. An accompanying tutoring system provides solicited hints on what to ask during an interview and unsolicited feed...
Article
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The current research examined whether the cross-race effect (CRE) was evident in perceptual identification tasks and the extent to which certain boundary conditions moderated the effect. Across two experiments, a significant CRE was observed in measures of accuracy and response latency. As predicted, Experiment 1 showed that the CRE was exacerbated...