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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 maintaining rapport, eliciting information, presenting evidence, and assessing credibility. Research is described in the context of accusatorial (guilt-presumptive and psychologically manipulative) versus information-gathering (cooperative and evidence based) approaches to interviewing and interrogation. We also suggest future directions for research to continue to improve the efficacy of interviews and interrogations.
Developing Evidence-Based Approaches to Interrogation
Swanner, J. K., Meissner, C. A., Atkinson, D. J., & Dianiska, R. E.
Iowa State University
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 maintaining rapport, eliciting information,
presenting evidence, and assessing credibility. Research is described in the context of accusatorial
(guilt-presumptive and psychologically manipulative) versus information-gathering (cooperative and
evidence based) approaches to interviewing and interrogation. We also suggest future directions for
research to continue to improve the efficacy of interviews and interrogations.
Keywords: interrogation, interview, confession, rapport, evidence, information-gathering
Word Count: 2,994
To appear in the
Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition
Developing Evidence-Based Approaches to Interrogation
Each month in the United States, dozens of interrogation training courses are offered to
local, state, and federal law enforcement by companies such as John E. Reid and Associates,
Wicklander-Zulawski, and Kinesic. Federal law enforcement, military, and intelligence training
agencies also regularly provide basic and advanced interrogation training to their personnel.
Important issues to consider relate to whether the methods trained in such contexts are evidence-
based and yield accurate and reliable evidence or intelligence that effectively furthers an
investigation. Unfortunately, companies that offer such training have not generated or provided a
scientific basis upon which to assess the efficacy of their approaches . Instead, these methods have
been primarily based upon customary knowledge practices that have developed over time through
experience, that are handed-down through observation and story-telling, and that are ultimately
codified in manuals, policies, and regulations. Over the past several decades, scholars have begun to
assess the validity of the methods trained and used by interrogation professionals, with the goal of
applying scientific knowledge a perspective drawn from independent observation, that is theory driven
and empirically derived, and is founded upon the principles of replication and peer review. In this
review, we distinguish between two prominent models - accusatorial and information-gathering
approaches to interrogation - and offer a scientific perspective on techniques that can influence the
likelihood of eliciting true and false information.
Why do People Confess?
A number of theories have been proposed to explain when and why people confess (see
Gudjonsson, 2003). While these theories highlight the role of internal (e.g., Reik, 1959) and external
mechanisms (e.g., Gudjonsson, 2003; Hilgendorf & Irving, 1981) that may lead one to confess, they
generally fail to distinguish factors that may lead to true versus false confessions. For example, the
internal accountability model of confessions posits that internal feelings such as guilt or remorse that
result from transgressions or violations of social mores, will lead a person to confess in order to
alleviate these negative feelings (Reik, 1959). Other accounts highlight the role of anxiety and social
pressure in an interrogation. According to such theories, a suspect experiences anxiety whenever
they are being deceptive (Jayne, 1986), and social pressure can be placed upon an individual to
facilitate a confession and alleviate anxiety. Decision-making models of confession have also been
proposed, suggesting that suspects will weigh the potential costs (e.g., prison sentence, fees,
dishonor, etc.) against the potential benefits (e.g., end the interrogation, relief from social pressure,
etc.) of confessing. Such decision-making models often incorporate a suspects’ perception of the
evidence or proof against them, which has been shown to be a powerful predictor of confession
likelihood (see Houston, Meissner, & Evans, 2014).
Recent empirical research involving both field surveys (Redlich, Kulish, & Steadman, 2011;
Sigurdsson & Gudjonsson, 1996) and experimental studies (Houston et al., 2014) have validated the
influence of such factors in predicting. A recent meta-analysis of the experimental literature has also
assessed the influence of psychological processes across true versus false confession (Houston et al.,
2014). Consistent with previous research, false confessions appear to be primarily based upon
perceived external social pressures to confess that stem from the interrogation approaches
employed, the persistent accusations, disbelief, and requests for compliance from the interrogator, or
the interrogation context itself. In contrast, true confessions appear to derive from internal feelings
of guilt, remorse, and accountability for the misdeed, as well as the perceived strength of the
evidence against them. These findings provide a framework for understanding the influence of
accusatorial and information-gathering approaches, as described below.
Accusatorial Approach
An accusatorial approach (typically used in North America and many Asian nations;
Costanzo & Redlich, 2010; Leo, 2008; Ma, 2007; Smith, Stinson, & Patry, 2009) is generally
characterized by the goal of eliciting a confession. Such techniques typically involve an assumption
of the suspect’s guilt whereby interrogators seek to control the interaction and use confirmatory and
closed-ended questions to elicit an admission (Meissner et al., 2014). In addition, an accusatorial
approach typically introduces psychologically manipulative tactics that involve the development of
themes designed to maximize a suspect’s perception of guilt through the use of (often exaggerated
or even fabricated) evidence presentation, and then to minimize a suspect’s evaluation of personal
responsibility and the consequences of self-incrimination. Minimization and maximization
techniques in conjunction with a small, isolating interrogation room, can yield a powerful influence
on a suspect that leads to increased confession rates in field studies (Meissner et al., 2014). But is it
possible that these techniques might yield increased social pressure and therein produce non-
diagnostic outcomes?
Advocates of the accusatorial approach frequently claim that the methods are only applied
on suspects determined to be guilty (Inbau, Reid, & Buckley, 2011) a claim that remains
unfounded (Meissner & Kassin, 2002; Narchet, Meissner, & Russano, 2011). Researchers have
examined the various techniques encompassed in the accusatorial model of interrogation, and most
importantly their influence on true and false confession rates under controlled, experimental
conditions. For example, the use of minimization tactics that either diminish responsibility for the
act or lessen the potential consequences associated with the act have been shown to increase both
true confessions by the guilty and false confessions by the innocent (Horgan, Russano, Meissner, &
Evans, 2012; Klaver, Lee, & Rose, 2008; Narchet et al., 2011; Russano, Meissner, Narchet, & Kassin,
2005) consistent with the psychological process model described above. Similarly, the presentation
of false or exaggerated evidence (Horselenberg et al., 2006; Horselenberg, Merckelbach, & Josephs,
2003; Kassin & Kiechel, 1996; Klaver et al., 2008; Nash & Wade, 2009; Redlich & Goodman, 2003;
Wright, Wade, & Watson, 2013) and the use of “bluff” techniques that allude to the strength of
evidence that is yet to be processed (Perillo & Kassin, 2011) have been shown to reduce the
diagnostic value of confession evidence by increasing the likelihood of a false confession. Overall,
while accusatorial approaches may lead to information (confessions) obtained from the person being
questioned, they significantly increase the likelihood of obtaining false information and therein
reduce the diagnostic value of the confession evidence obtained (Kassin et al., 2010; Meissner et al.,
2014). This information appears to be due to increased social pressure and the manipulation of
perceived consequences, which have been demonstrated to predict false confessions (Houston et al.,
Information-Gathering Approach
By contrast, an information-gathering approach (developed as the PEACE model in the
United Kingdom and later adopted by Norway, New Zealand, and Australia because of the
problematic nature of accusatorial approaches and wrongful convictions; Bull & Soukara, 2010;
Clarke & Milne, 2001) is characterized by the goal of eliciting information (rather than a confession,
per se) whereby interrogators establish rapport, use exploratory and open-ended questions, and
address contradictions via the strategic presentation of evidence (Meissner et al., 2014). Over the
past decade, researchers have begun to focus on developing an empirical understanding of the
effectiveness of the information-gathering approach, with the goal of offering an evidence-based
alternative to law enforcement, military, and intelligence personnel (Meissner, Hartwig, & Russano,
2010). The extant literature (from both laboratory and field studies) indicates that an information-
gathering approach can provide an effective method for eliciting more diagnostic information from
both cooperative and reluctant subjects. Specifically, information-gathering has been shown to
increase the likelihood of truthful confessions and decrease the likelihood of false confessions when
compared to an accusatorial approach utilizing minimization and maximization under controlled
laboratory conditions (Meissner, Russano, & Narchet, 2010; Narchet et al., 2011) . Additionally, an
information-gathering approach can lead to more admissions from guilty subjects and critical
information in an non-cooperative intelligence collection context (Evans, Meissner, et al., 2013).
Over the past decade, key aspects of an information-gathering approach have been
developed and assessed empirically. Specifically, this research has focused on methods to establish
and maintain rapport, approaches for eliciting information from memory, understanding how to
most effectively present evidence, and establishing the corollary benefits of such approaches for
assessing the credibility of information elicited.
Developing Rapport
A critical component of an information-gathering approach involves establishing and
maintaining rapport. Rapport is a widely supported component of modern interrogations, despite
disparate definitions from both practitioners and researchers regarding what might constitute
rapport (Goodman-Delahunty, Martschuk, & Dhami, 2014; Kelly, Redlich, & Miller, 2015; Vallano
& Schreiber Compo, 2011). For example, interrogation professionals have referred to rapport as
involving a working relationship, a willingness to disclose, trust building, and mutual respect
(Russano, Narchet, Kleinman, & Meissner, 2014). According to a prominent theoretical model by
Tickle-Degnen and Rosenthal (1990), rapport is characterized by mutual attention (the degree of
involvement of the interviewer and interviewee in the interview), positivity (mutual liking and respect),
and coordination of behaviors (reciprocal responses of the interviewer and interviewee that may
match, compliment, or accommodate one another). Empirical, laboratory-based research has
demonstrated that rapport tactics can increase positive attributions made about an interviewer, as
well as facilitate the reporting of accurate information from witnesses (e.g., Collins, Lincoln, &
Frank, 2002; Holmberg & Madsen, 2014; Vallano & Compo, 2011) . In one of the few studies
investigating the effects of rapport in an interrogation context, Evans et al. (2014) found that
positive affirmations, interest, and calmness from the interviewer increased perceptions of rapport as
well as the amount of information gained.
Building on the theoretical model offered by Tickle-Degnen and Rosenthal (1990), Abbe and
Brandon (2014) proposed a taxonomy for rapport building tactics that have been validated by
research. These tactics include a mix of verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey engagement,
respect, trust, reciprocal disclosure, positivity, and commonality. These tactics include a mix of
verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey engagement, respect, trust, reciprocal disclosure ,
positivity, and commonality (e.g., highlighting overlapping interests or identities, mirroring
nonverbal behavior, etc.; see Abbe & Brandon, 2014). Recently, Alison and colleagues (Alison et al.,
2014; Alison, Alison, Noone, Elntib, & Christiansen, 2013) assessed the influence of conversational
rapport tactics drawn from principles of motivational interviewing (Miller & Rollnick, 2009) theories
of interpersonal behavior (Leary & Coffey, 1954). Across a robust sample of counterterrorism
interrogations conducted in the United Kingdom, the authors found that interrogators’ use of
adaptive, rapport-based behaviors increased cooperation and information yield from suspects, and
further reduced suspects’ use of counter-interrogation tactics.
Eliciting Information
Another contrast between accusatorial and information-gathering approaches involves their
objectives for information elicitation. Accusatorial approaches are largely confirmatory exercises in
which an investigator seeks to elicit a confession narrative from a suspect that is presumed guilty.
Interrogators are encouraged to “shut down denialsor any attempt by the suspect to distance
themselves from the alleged act or to offer an alternative narrative of events. Interrogators may also
offer crime-relevant information and a purported scenario to the suspect, largely in the context of
theme that minimizes the subject’s responsibility therein contaminating any confession statement
offered by the subject (Garrett, 2015). The information-gathering approach, however, utilizes open-
ended and non-suggestive interviewing tactics designed to elicit a complete and detailed narrativ e
from the suspect. Rather than controlling the interrogation, a critical aspect of the approach involves
allowing the suspect a degree of autonomy and utilizing active listening skills and open-ended
prompts to encourage elicitation (see Alison et al., 2014; Alison et al., 2013).
Another important development in this area relates to the use of the Cognitive Interview (CI)
for suspect interrogations. The CI was initially developed by Fisher and Geiselman (1992) to
facilitate the recollection of cooperative witnesses and victims by utilizing effective communication
strategies and interview tactics that consider the cognitive processes that underlie memory. More
than three decades of empirical research (including both laboratory and field studies) support the
effectiveness of the CI in significantly increasing the amount of correct informati on without
influencing the accuracy of responding (see Memon, Meissner, & Fraser, 2010).
In recent years, scholars have investigated individual components in the CI, demonstrating the
utility of encouraging subjects to provide more accurate details even seemingly unimportant ones
(Leal, Vrij, Warmelink, Vernham, & Fisher, 2015) and the effectiveness of various mnemonics
(Leins, Fisher, Pludwinski, Rivard, & Robertson, 2014). Additionally, recent research has
demonstrated that the CI can facilitate information gained in both interrogation (Evans, Meissner, et
al., 2013) and human intelligence contexts (Leins et al., 2014). Further, the CI has been shown to
outperform alternative “best practiceinterview approaches taught by current training academies
(Rivard, Fisher, Robertson, & Hirn Mueller, 2014). Specifically, Rivard and colleagues collected data
at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) comparing the CI with FLETC’s five-
step interview protocol using experienced interviewers and adult subjects. The CI produces 80%
more relevant information than the FLETC interview protocol.
Evidence Presentation
Accusatorial and information-gathering approaches differ in the manner by which
investigators present evidence. In the accusatorial approach, evidence (including exaggerated or false
evidence) is typically presented in a narrative format with the intention of maximizing a suspect’s
perception of the evidence against them (Inbau et al., 2011). Unfortunately, such tactics can produce
false confessions and lessen the diagnostic value of a confession, arguably through social pressure
and a focus on consequences of confessing (or not; Horgan et al., 2012; Madon, Yang, Smalarz,
Guyll, & Scherr, 2013; Russano et al., 2005). Further, such false evidence tactics have also been
shown to produce distortions in memory (Nash & Wade, 2009; Perillo & Kassin, 2011)
The information-gathering approach, in contrast, involves presenting evidence as a method
of challenging a suspect’s account – typically doing so either late in an interview or systematically
presenting evidence over time in a more strategic or tactical manner. This evidence presentation is
restricted to evidence that is in-hand and available to the investigator, prohibiting the use of
deception or the misrepresentation of evidence. Research indicates that evidence is most effectively
used when it is presented late in an interrogation (Sellers & Kebbell, 2009; Walsh & Bull, 2015).
Further, studies on the strategic use of evidence (SUE) method demonstrate the effectiveness of
delivering the evidence piece-by-piece, from weakest to strongest. This method not only increase s
information yield (Luke, Dawson, Hartwig, & Granhag, 2014), but also produces a corollary benefit
in assessing the credibility of suspect (as described below, see Hartwig, Granhag, & Luke, 2014). The
benefits of presenting evidence both late and systematically have been demonstrated in both the
laboratory and the field (cf. Luke et al., 2016).
Assessing Credibility
Finally, the information-gathering approach also differs from the accusatorial approach in its
perspective on assessing the credibility of statements. While we direct readers to Vrij (this issue) for
a complete description of both laboratory and field research in this area, we note here that
accusatorial methods are situated within an anxiety model of deception that focuses practitioners on
non-verbal cues (e.g., fidgeting, nervousness, eye contact, etc.) cues that have been shown to be
poor indicators of deception (DePaulo et al., 2003). In contrast, the information-gathering approach
is situated in a cognitive model of deception that focuses practitioners on verbal and linguistic cues
to deception (e.g., coherence, details, plausibility, etc.) cues that can serve as stronger predictors of
deception (DePaulo et al., 2003; Hauch, Blandón-Gitlin, Masip, & Sporer, 2015). When trained on
verbal and linguistic cues to deception, detection performance improves significantly when
compared with non-verbal or paravocal cues (Hauch, Sporer, Michael, & Meissner, 2016).
Importantly, research suggests that information-gathering approaches offer a corollary benefit to
assessing credibility by encouraging suspects to say more and thereby increasing the frequency of
cognitive and linguistic cues to deception (Evans, Michael, Meissner, & Brandon, 2013), leading to
more accurate judgments of credibility (Vrij, Fisher, & Blank, 2015; Vrij, this issue).
Future Directions
While early research on interviewing and interrogations largely focused on the problematic
nature of accusatorial interrogation approaches, in recent years scholars (in collaboration with
interrogation professionals) have begun to identify methods that are both ethical and effective in
producing more diagnostic information. This research has produced techniques that facilitate the
development of rapport, improve information elicitation, render more effective the presentation of
evidence, and increase accuracy in assessments of credibility. At the same time, additional research is
necessary to further our understanding of the use of such techniques in different contexts. In fact,
researchers are just beginning to understand the variety of contextual factors that can influence an
interrogation. Recent research has demonstrated that priming mental states such as self-affirmation
(positive appraisals of the self-concept) and attachment security (secure and supportive
relationships) can facilitate disclosure (Davis, Soref, Guillermo, & Mikulincer, 2016; Dawson,
Hartwig, & Brimbal, 2015). Further, research is also needed to appreciate the challenges of
interviewing via an interpreter (Ewens et al., 2014; Russano, Narchet, & Kleinman, 2014) and the
role of cultural differences in the interrogation room. For example, behaviors that may increase
rapport between US citizens may be offensive in other cultures and therein detrimental to
information gain (e.g., Beune, Giebels, & Sanders, 2009; Beune, Giebels, & Taylor, 2010) . Language
fluency may also impair the efficacy of certain approaches to assessing credibility in this context
(e.g., Da Silva & Leach, 2013; Evans, Michael, et al., 2013).
As we move towards a “science of interrogation,” we must ensure the efficacy and integrity
of the methods taken from the laboratory to the field. In 1980, Cialdini proposed a model for
research practice, which he dubbed the “Full Cycle Social Psychology.” He proposed the simple
notion that experimental research should be informed by real-world practice, then shared with
practice, investigated in practice, and ultimately returned to the laboratory for further investigation
completing and starting the cycle anew. Over the past decade, researchers have partnered with
practitioners to initiate a full cycle research effort focused on the efficacy of interrogation (Meissner,
Hartwig, et al., 2010) whereby investigators have informed laboratory-based research and researchers
have taken and replicated their findings in the field. Further, this partnership has been critical to the
development of best practices that are now being implemented at federal training facilities
(Meissner, Kelly, & Woestehoff, 2015). We believe it is critical that these partnerships continue, and
we encourage other scholars and interrogation professionals to join the conversation in order to
improve both the science and practice of interrogation.
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... However, issues still remain regarding the effectiveness of specific information-gathering interrogation techniques in obtaining reliable information and how to implement these techniques, especially when dealing with uncooperative suspects. Historically, empirical studies on suspect interviewing have focused on the consequences of negative interrogation methods given the urgency to reduce inappropriate and ineffective interrogation practices, while in the past decade increasing studies have sought to determine and validate appropriate techniques for suspect interrogation (Swanner, Meissner, Atkinson, & Dianiska, 2016). Importantly, an ideal interrogation technique should be just as effective in eliciting a confession or information from real offenders as protecting the innocent. ...
... Importantly, an ideal interrogation technique should be just as effective in eliciting a confession or information from real offenders as protecting the innocent. Information-gathering approaches appear to fulfil this purpose yet more research is needed to support their use in practice (Swanner et al., 2016). For example, researchers are still trying to identify how to strategically use evidence to challenge suspects in a noncoercive manner, uncover more powerful deception cues, as well as facilitate admissions of crime (Sukumar, Wade, & Hodgson, 2016). ...
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Both researchers and practitioners have stressed the importance of developing rapport in the investigative interviewing of criminal suspects. There is, however, no clear definition of what constitutes rapport and ways of achieving and maintaining rapport. Most research on rapport building with suspects have focused on a positive personal bond between the investigator and suspect (i.e., relationship-based approach), while more recent research suggests the merits of a neutral type of rapport building that focuses on developing a mutual understanding of the interrogation process and roles (i.e., procedure-based approach). The present study thus aimed to examine the effects of relationship- and procedure-based rapport building approaches on suspect interviewing outcome. Using a modified version of Russano, Meissner, Narchet, and Kassin’s (2005) cheating paradigm, “guilty” participants were interviewed using different rapport building approaches in a laboratory setting. We found that participants were more likely to confess in the procedure-based condition than in the relationship-based and control conditions. However, both approaches did not have an effect on the number of details participants were willing to disclose. We also found that the procedure-based approach affected participants’ perception about the evidence. Theoretical and practical implications for rapport building in suspect interviewing are discussed.
... Some aspects of the analysis of nonverbal information were revealed by Metenková and Metenko (2014). Some aspects of the survey were studied by Swanner, Meissner, Atkinson, and Dianiska (2016). Thus, some aspects of our research have been repeatedly studied in the studies of some scholars, but a comprehensive study taking into account the investigative and judicial practice of Ukraine has not yet been carried out, which actualizes the topic we raised. ...
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The purpose of the article is to determine the procedural and non-procedural methods of diagnostics false testimony of criminal proceedings participants’, which can be used in the investigation in Ukraine. The authors use general and special methods that allow obtaining scientifically sound conclusions and suggestions. The dialectical method, system-structural, generalizing, logical and statistical methods were used in the study. According to the results of the study, the number of criminal offenses initiated in Ukraine in connection with the provision of false testimony by victims and witnesses is quite large. If a person is convicted based on false testimony, a new criminal trial must be ordered in connection with the newly discovered circumstances. The authors determined that procedural methods of diagnostics false testimony include investigative (search) actions and forensic examinations, and non-procedural - various types of research, in particular, the use of polygraph and physiognomic research, as well as methods of analyzing nonverbal information. Re-interrogation, additional and simultaneous interrogation of previously interrogated persons, investigative experiment are the most effective procedural means of diagnosing false testimony. Non-procedural means of diagnosing false indications require further research and scientific substantiation, including the development of a mechanism for training relevant specialists.
... Onderzoek suggereert over het algemeen de meerwaarde van een informatie vergarende verhoorstijl: opbouwen van een werkrelatie (rapport), ontlokken van informatie (bv. cognitief interview), strategisch presenteren van bewijs, en inschatten van de geloofwaardigheid van de bron (Swanner, Meissner, Atkinson & Dianiska, 2016) boven een confronterende stijl. Om de toepassing van psychologische druk in een verhoor betekenisvol te kunnen bespreken dienen we eerst een ruimer beeld te schetsen van het verloop van een verhoor van een kwetsbare persoon. ...
Literature review on the assessment of police interviewers – an assessment before enrolling in advanced interview courses in order to save capacity and costs, to enhance successful completion of the course, and to prevent disappointment.
... Overall, the available course materials were generally consistent with an evidence-based perspective (see Swanner, Meissner, Atkinson, & Dianiska, 2016). For example, investigators were encouraged (a) to develop rapport and offer an empathic, understanding, and nonjudgmental interview context; (b) to inform the interviewee about the process of both the investigation and the interview, and to address any questions they might have therein; (c) to ask open-ended questions, followed by more focused questions once an initial narrative has been provided; (d) to avoid biased or leading questions and more generally to be mindful of investigative biases that might influence the interview process; and (e) to invite the interviewee to describe or provide any supporting evidence that would support the account. ...
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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 available to college and university Title IX investigators. Our review finds that while certain core interviewing skills align with evidence-based practice and available research, other suggested practices are at odds with the available science, and additional effective interviewing practices related to the retrieval of memory and the assessment of credibility are critically absent. We recommend a set of evidence-based practices for Title IX investigative interviews that are likely to (a) improve the development of rapport and cooperation with an interviewee, (b) elicit more accurate and relevant information from memory, and (c) enhance assessments of credibility when applying strategic questioning approaches.
... Specifically, it is necessary that empirical research examines the utility of applying MI to the police context, particularly the effect of increasing investigation-relevant information and true confessions. Furthermore, Swanner, Meissner, Atkinson, and Dianiska (2016) have highlighted that principles and procedures examined in the laboratory must also translate to the police context; that is, MI should be empirically examined and replicated in the field. Therefore, the use of MI in police investigative interviews should be examined in both laboratory settings and subsequently examined in police practice. ...
The field of police investigations has been gradually progressing from accusatorial approaches to inquisitorial approaches in the context of interviewing suspects. This article explores the utility of motivational interviewing, which was taken from the field of counseling and provides a structured approach to engaging individuals in moving from ambivalence to motivation to change, in the context of police investigative interviews with suspects. Motivational interviewing offers an ethically driven approach to rapport building and can be effective in many situations. This article highlights the contexts where motivational interviewing may be applied and where it is contraindicated. Implications for training of police investigators and for research will also be discussed.
The article presents an analysis of the different existing conceptions of interrogation and, at the same time, indicates the ambiguity of approaches to the examination of witnesses according to the type of crime, the body conducting the investigation and the tactics used. The study explores the effect of individual differences on the cognitive processes of witnesses in a simulated interrogation. The authors conducted a survey using the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) method. The groups of witnesses are divided not by the types of temperament per se but according to the set of temperamental characteristics (introversion and extraversion; neuroticism) and controlling the sincerity of the interviewees during the test, which significantly improves the reliability of the conclusions (Eysenck Personality Inventory). Finally, the study experimentally demonstrates that the speed of the mental reactions of the witnesses is not uniform and varies according to their temperamental characteristics. This gives reason to affirm the need to adapt to different groups of witnesses before and during their interrogation, giving an account of the peculiarities of their perception and processing of information.
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All across the Sahel, the current situation mirrors with armed conflicts in general and terrorism in particular. The current literature argued that armed conflicts have several causes. The link between environmental resource constraint and conflict is highly debated and findings are sometimes diametrically opposed. This paper analyses pathways through which climate change may affects armed conflict in Niger. The work aims specifically to estimate the effect of climate variability and associated agricultural income losses on the likelihood of outbreaks of armed conflict. The prime intended contribution of this research is its policy relevance. We employ the theoretical model, developed by Chassang & Padró, (2009) to illustrate potential channels of violent conflicts. Empirically, we separately used the fixed effect decomposition and the instrumental variable techniques. This research contributes also to the microeconomic strand of the empirical literature that has been dominated by cross-country studies. The cross-country nature of previous studies, leaves regional (subnational) heterogeneity unobserved and thus limits the ability to derive context-specific recommendations for effective strategies and national policies of conflict prevention. The hypothesis we formulated in this chapter, climate variability and associated agricultural income losses do not have significant effect on the likelihood of occurrence of conflict, is not accepted.
The paper contributes to the debate on community-driven responses to local insecurity. Within this context, it discusses the emergence, contributions and challenges of the yangora (Hausa word literally translated as ‘defenders using local hockey sticks made from bamboo roots’), a local vigilante group popularly called Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), in the management of Boko Haram violence in Nigeria’s North-East region. Existing studies on counter-Boko Haram responses have not sufficiently interrogated the significant role the CJTF played in the war against Boko Haram. Drawing on oral interviews and literature search, the paper demonstrates the social agency and capacity of the CJTF that made a difference in the counter-terrorism operation. Through their knowledge of the local environment, language, culture and religion, theyangora were able to provide local intelligence, identify and apprehend Boko Haram members. They were also able to repel, liberate and protect communities from the violent attacks of Boko Haram. Their partnership with the Nigerian military contributed in turning the tide against Boko Haram. However, there is the need to articulate an effective post-conflict role for the CJTF and ensure that its members, out of desperation or frustration, do not turn to organised crime and become purveyors of violence themselves. The community policing framework is an option in finding a post-conflict role for the CJTF. Within this framework, the CJTF as a local community watch group can continue to partner the military and other law enforcement agencies in the campaigns against Boko Haram. Keywords: Boko Haram,Civilian Joint Task Force, counter-terrorism,local security, North-East Nigeria, vigilante
Interrogation has evolved over more than a century of policing into a discipline drawing on principles of law and psychology. This evolution has made necessary, and been facilitated by, increasingly sophisticated evaluations of police interviews and interrogations. Some research has been purely descriptive, some has been aimed at law enforcement training and assessment, and, more recently, some has evaluated the coercive pressures present in interrogations. Our chapter will begin with a discussion on the challenges of defining coercion in an interrogative context. A brief summary of methods of suspect questioning will also be provided. Individual differences in suspect vulnerability to the coercive pressures of interrogation will be considered, particularly with respect to youth and intellectual disability as risk factors. We will then review the differing perspectives of interrogation offered by laypeople, criminal justice officials, and social scientists. With that background in mind, we turn to observational studies and what commonly takes place during interrogations. Following these reviews, we propose a new psychometric framework for measuring and quantifying coercion in investigative interviews and interrogations, and review our nascent research on this instrument.
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Interviewers often face respondents reluctant to disclose sensitive, embarrassing or potentially damaging information. We explored effects of priming 5 states of mind on willingness to disclose: including 2 expected to facilitate disclosure (self-affirmation, attachment security), and 3 expected to inhibit disclosure (self-disaffirmation, attachment insecurity, mortality salience). Israeli Jewish participants completed a survey including a manipulation of 1 of these states of mind, followed by questions concerning hostile thoughts and behaviors toward the Israeli Arab outgroup, past minor criminal behaviors, and socially undesirable traits and behaviors. Self-affirmation led to more disclosures of all undesirable behaviors than neutral priming, whereas self-disaffirmation led to less disclosures. Mortality salience led to fewer disclosures of socially undesirable and criminal behaviors compared to neutral priming, but more disclosures of hostile thoughts and behaviors toward Israeli Arabs. Security priming facilitated disclosure of hostile attitudes toward Israeli Arabs. However, neither security nor insecurity priming had any other significant effects. (PsycINFO Database Record
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This chapter describes the Strategic Use of Evidence (SUE) technique - an interview method aimed at eliciting cues to deception, and thereby improving the chances of correct judgments of deception and truth. The chapter begins with a general overview of research on deception and its detection, in order to provide a context for the SUE technique. The psychological foundations of the technique are described, with a particular focus on suspects' counter-interrogation strategies. We then review the empirical research on the SUE technique, in order to illustrate how the principles of the SUE technique can be translated into interview tactics. We also describe how these tactics produce different verbal responses from lying and truth-telling suspects, and how these cues can be utilized by lie-catchers in order to detect deception. Finally, we will provide a meta-analysis of the available research on the SUE technique.
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Research on implicit cognition has found that activating mental concepts can lead people to behave in ways that are consistent with the primed concept. In a pilot study we tested the effects of priming attachment security on the accessibility of disclosure-related concepts. Subsequently, we tested whether activating disclosure concepts by priming attachment security would influence people's forthcomingness. Participants (N = 102) delivered a flash drive to a confederate who exposed them to details of a mock eco terrorism conspiracy, which they were subsequently interviewed about. Before being interviewed, half of the participants were primed; the other half were not. Results showed that primed participants disclosed significantly more information than those who were not primed. Our findings highlight the need for further research on basic nonconscious processes in investigative interviews, as such influences can affect the outcome of the interview. The operation of nonconscious influences in such contexts has implications for practitioners, who may be able to utilize priming to facilitate disclosure. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
The psychological literature suggests that establishing rapport between interviewer and subject – whether in clinical, experimental or forensic settings – is likely to enhance the quality of the interaction. Yet there are surprisingly few studies that test this assumption. This article reports a study of the effect of rapport on eyewitness recall of a dramatic videotaped event by creating three interviewer-attitude conditions – “rapport”, “neutral” and “abrupt”. Participants were randomly assigned to the three conditions, and recall was elicited by two methods – free narrative and a semi-structured questionnaire. The results indicate participants in the rapport interview recalled more correct information, and the same amount of incorrect information as participants in the other two conditions. However, prompting via the semi-structured questionnaire yielded additional correct as well as incorrect information for the neutral and abrupt conditions. The results are discussed for their relevance to interviews conducted in forensic settings, and to highlight the need for more specific and improved interview training for police and other justice personnel.
The study investigates differences in the factor scores on the revised version of the Gudjonsson Confession Questionnaire (GCQ) according to the type of claimed false confession made to the police during interviewing. The GCQ was factor analysed on 404 prison inmates and six factors emerged from a varimax rotation, which were used to study the perceptions and reactions of 61 inmates who claimed to have made a false confession to the police sometime in their lives. Their false confession was classified in two ways. Firstly, those who claimed to have made a false confession in order to protect somebody else were compared on the GCQ factor scores with those who claimed that they had confessed falsely for other reasons. Secondly, those inmates who claimed that they had made a coerced-compliant type of false confession were compared on the GCQ with those who had made a coercedinternalized false confession. As predicted, significant differences emerged with regard to the GCQ scores. The findings indicate that there is a significant relationship between the type of claimed false confession made and the participants' perceptions of their police interview.
This volume, a sequel to The Psychology of Interrogations, Confessions and Testimony which is widely acclaimed by both scientists and practitioners, brings the field completely up-to-date and focuses in particular on aspects of vulnerability, confabulation and false confessions. The is an unrivalled integration of scientific knowledge of the psychological processes and research relating to interrogation, with the practical investigative and legal issues that bear upon obtaining, and using in court, evidence from interrogations of suspects. Accessible style which will appeal to academics, students and practitioners. Authoritative integration of theory, research, practical implications and vivid case illustration. Coverage of topical issues like confabulation, false memory, and false confessions. Part of the Wiley Series in The Psychology of Crime, Policing and Law.
Confession, particularly false confession, is so self-evidently interesting to the psychologist that it might seem unnecessary to begin by defining where our interest in the topic lies. Nevertheless we wish to draw a distinction between confession as an interesting phenomenon to be studied for what it can tell us about human motivation and so on, and confession as a taxing practical problem for the legal profession. As applied psychologists our central concern is with the problem rather than the phenomenon itself.
A second wave of false confessions is cresting. In the first twenty-one years of post-conviction DNA testing, 250 innocent people were exonerated, forty of which had falsely confessed. Those false confessions attracted sustained public attention from judges, law enforcement, policymakers, and the media. Those exonerations not only showed that false confessions can happen, but did more by shedding light on the problem of confession contamination, in which details of the crime are disclosed to suspects during the interrogation process. As a result, false confessions can appear deceptively rich, detailed, and accurate. In just the last five years, there has been a new surge in false confessions — a set of twenty-six more false confessions among DNA exonerations. All but two of these most recent confessions included crime scene details corroborated by crime scene information. Illustrating the power of contaminated false confessions, in nine of the cases, defendants were convicted despite DNA tests that excluded them at the time. As a result, this second wave of false confessions should cause even more alarm than the first. In the vast majority of cases there is no evidence to test using DNA. Unless a scientific framework is adopted to regulate interrogations, including by requiring recording of entire interrogations, overhauling interrogation methods, providing for judicial review of reliability at trial, and informing jurors with expert testimony, the insidious problems of confession contamination will persist.