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Interviewing and Interrogations: From the Third Degree to Science-Based Approaches



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 begin to transition from accusatorial methods to science-based approaches. In this chapter, we review the coercive interrogation methods of the past and their influence on false confessions. We then explore science-based interviewing, discussing the benefits of productive questioning tactics, memory-based tactics, rapport-based approaches, strategic presentation of evidence, and strategic questioning to assess credibility. To conclude, we discuss the need for collaborations between practitioners and researchers as the field shifts to a comprehensive science-based interviewing model.
Interviewing and Interrogations: From the Third Degree to Science-Based Approaches
Amelia Mindthoff and Christian A. Meissner
Department of Psychology, Iowa State University
This chapter has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming book, Routledge Handbook of
Evidence-Based Criminal Justice Practices, edited by Bryanna Fox & Edelyn Verona.
Author Note
Amelia Mindthoff
Christian A. Meissner
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to either Amelia Mindthoff
( or Christian A. Meissner ( Address: Department of
Psychology, 1347 Lagomarcino Hall, 901 Stange Rd., Ames, IA 50011
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 begin to transition from
accusatorial methods to science-based approaches. In this chapter, we review the coercive
interrogation methods of the past and their influence on false confessions. We then explore
science-based interviewing, discussing the benefits of productive questioning tactics, memory-
based tactics, rapport-based approaches, strategic presentation of evidence, and strategic
questioning to assess credibility. To conclude, we discuss the need for collaborations between
practitioners and researchers as the field shifts to a comprehensive science-based interviewing
Keywords: investigative interviewing, interrogation, false confession, information-
gathering approach
Interviewing and Interrogations: From the Third Degree to Science-Based Approaches
Eliciting information from resistant individuals has long represented a challenge for
interrogation professionals; however, the manner in which individuals are interviewed has
transformed substantially over the past century. In this chapter, we provide a selective review of
the evolution of interrogation practices, from coercive methods of the past that are prone to
producing false confessions to rapport-based methods of the present and future. While we focus
primarily on the adversarial interview context, readers interested in witness/victim interviewing
(Hope & Gabbert, 2019) and the interviewing of children (Lamb et al., 2018; Nicol et al., 2017)
are referred to other excellent reviews.
Interrogations of the Past
Through the first half of the 20th century, it was customary for American police
departments to practice the “third degree”—interrogation methods that involved physical and
psychological coercion aimed at extracting confessions (Leo, 1992). Such methods included
physical violence (e.g., whippings, punching) and torture (e.g., drilling into teeth), as well as
coercive methods that were easily deniable given their lack of evidence (e.g., rubber hose
beatings, being hung out of windows, being slapped if failing to stand up straight for hours).
Although the use of such tactics had drastically decreased by the 1960s, they were ultimately
replaced by techniques that apply psychological pressure, manipulation, and deception (Kassin et
al., 2010). Such accusatorial tactics have also been widely used in other countries, including
Canada (Snook et al., 2010) and the U.K. (Bull & Rachlew, 2020).
Central to modern accusatorial methods are the tenets of guilt presumption and
confession elicitation (Kassin & Gudjonsson, 2004). As such, accusatorial interrogations are
characterized by: (a) an interrogator-suspect dynamic in which the interrogator maintains
control; (b) questioning approaches that focus on confirmation of guilt (in lieu of elicitation of
information); (c) the presentation of interrogation “themes” that persuade suspects that it is in
their best interest to confess; (d) the isolation of suspects meant to induce stress and a want to
escape the interrogation context (via confession); and (e) a reliance on anxiety-based nonverbal
cues to deception (Meissner et al., 2015). In this context, interrogators rely on methods including
(but not limited to): maximization (harsh confrontations of guilt and exaggeration of
consequences); minimization (providing face-saving excuses and downplaying the
consequences); and false evidence ploys (presenting fabricated incriminating evidence; see
Kassin et al., 2010, for a comprehensive discussion of additional accusatorial methods). The use
of such methods is inherently problematic, as accusatorial methods not only increase the rate of
true confessions from the guilty, but also increase the rate of false confessions from the innocent
(Meissner et al., 2014).
The Problem of False Confessions
False admissions or confessions represent a leading cause of wrongful convictions in the
United States. They are typically classified into one of three categories. Voluntary false
confessions are those that arise without any prompting from law enforcement and are often seen
in high-profile cases (e.g., the Black Dahlia case; Conti, 1999). Compliant false confessions are
typically the product of accusatorial interrogation methods and represent the most typical form of
false confessions. In such cases, individuals ultimately confess for positive rewards (e.g.,
escaping the interrogation context; in exchange for a promise of leniency), but internally
maintain their innocence. Lastly, internalized false confessions are made by innocent, yet
suggestible, individuals who are led to generate incriminating false memories that they come to
believe, thereby lending credence to their false confession (see Gudjonsson, 2003; Kassin &
Gudjonsson, 2004; for more on false confessions).
Factors Leading to False Confessions
Research indicates that several factors (both internal and external) can increase the
likelihood to of a false confession. Dispositional risk factors, such as intellectual/cognitive
ability and youth, are often present in known cases of false confessions (Drizin & Leo, 2004) and
have been experimentally demonstrated to increase false confession rates (see Kassin &
Gudjonsson, 2004, for more on dispositional risk factors). It is likely that interrogative
suggestibility mediates the effect of such characteristics on false confession rates (Otgaar et al.,
2021). The detrimental impact of such vulnerabilities is often intensified by situational risk
factorsfactors that are imposed on the interrogation environment by an investigator. For
example, the use of certain accusatorial tactics and prolonged detention / interrogation can
significantly increase the likelihood of a false confession.
Accusatorial interrogations represent an inherently confirmatory process. Interviewers
implementing this approach typically employ tactics designed to confirm a suspect’s guilt. It is
thus not surprising that such an approach fosters confirmation bias (i.e., actively seeking and
using information that is in line with one’s hypotheses/beliefs at the expense of ignoring
conflicting information; Meissner & Kassin, 2004), which in turn exacerbates the use of
accusatorial tactics aimed at confirming guilt, leading to an increased risk of false confession
(Narchet et al., 2011). Furthermore, the confession-driven and confirmatory nature of
accusatorial approaches often curtail the elicitation of additional information from suspects.
Innocence itself has also been shown to be a risk factor, as innocent suspects may waive
their Miranda rights and agree to be questioned, believing that their innocence will be apparent
(e.g., “didn’t have anything to hide;” Kassin & Norwick, 2004). Such a belief may be naïve,
particularly if investigators apply coercive, accusatorial methods. In such a context, an innocent
suspects persistent denials can increase the extent to which investigators utilize coercive tactics
and increase the risk of false confession (see Kassin, 2005; Scherr et al., 2020).
Moving Towards Science-Based Interviewing
Interrogation practices and policies have experienced a paradigm shift as cases of
wrongful convictions of false confessors began to emerge. Notably, a series of wrongful
convictions in the U.K. (e.g., Guilford Four, Birmingham Six) gave rise to a series of reforms
leading to the adoption of the PEACE model in 1992. The PEACE model, which is widely
practiced in the U.K., Wales, and several other countries, incorporates evidence-based
interviewing techniques that include rapport-based approaches, productive questioning, and
gradual presentation of evidence in combination with challenges to statement-evidence
inconsistencies. Notably, the goal of the PEACE approach to interviewing is in stark contrast to
that of traditional accusatorial methods: rather than being confession-driven, PEACE methods
are aimed at eliciting information (see Bull & Rachlew, 2020).
Since the introduction of PEACE, considerable research has led to the development and
refinement of science-based interviewing in the U.S. (Meissner et al., 2017). Based on such
work, scholars have proposed a framework that is built upon rapport-based, information-
gathering techniques (Meissner et al., 2021). This framework has led to a shift from
“interrogation” (a construct that induces a sense of guilt-presumption, a drive for confession, and
is typically tied to the adversarial questioning of suspects) to “investigative interviewing
(questioning with the goal of eliciting accurate and detailed narratives, ultimately contributing to
a broader investigative decision, and that can be used in various contexts including witnesses,
victims, suspects, and sources). Central to this science-based approach are productive
questioning tactics, memory-based tactics, rapport-based approaches, strategic presentation of
evidence, and strategic questioning to assess credibility.
Productive Questioning Tactics
The traditional accusatorial approach to questioning is characterized by closed-ended and
leading questions (Snook et al., 2012), which can restrict the amount of information elicited from
an interviewee and lead to memory errors (see Pickrell et al., 2016). In lieu of such unproductive
questioning methods, scholars recommend that practitioners pose open-ended questions that
facilitate recall and maintain the integrity of the interviewee’s memory. Practitioners should
consider implementing a funnel approach to questioning, by which they follow open-ended
questions with probing questions and appropriate closed-ended questions that are based on
previous statements made by the interviewee (Powell et al., 2005). Overall, these productive
questioning strategies have been shown to increase the amount of information elicited from
interviewees (Nunan et al., 2020).
Memory-Based Questioning Tactics
Eliciting information from interviewees can be impeded not only by their willingness to
disclose, but also by their inability to retrieve the information from memory (Shepherd, 1993). In
such instances, memory-based questioning tactics that were developed based on principles from
cognitive psychology can help facilitate retrieval. Examples of memory-based tactics include
instructing interviewees to: close their eyes in order to facilitate mental-reinstatement of the
context in which the memory being recalled was encoded; recall the event multiple times; recall
the event in various temporal orders (e.g., reverse-order, from end to beginning); recall the event
from a different perspective (e.g., from the perspective of a bystander); or recall sensory details
in a manner that aligns with encoding (e.g., when asking about spatial details, having
interviewees sketch what they remember). Such tactics are central to the Cognitive Interview
(Fisher & Geiselman, 1992)an evidence-based interview protocol that has been implemented
in a variety of contexts (e.g., children and adult witnesses, suspects, sources). Attesting to the
benefits of implementing memory-based tactics, the Cognitive Interview reliably increases the
amount of correct information elicited from interviewees, without reducing the accuracy of the
information provided (Memon et al., 2010).
Rapport-Based Approaches
Rapport-based approaches to interviewing have been strongly endorsed as a necessary
element to interviewing protocols (e.g., Army Field Manual; PEACE model; Cognitive
Interview). Yet, the literature has lacked a cohesive, comprehensive understanding of the rapport
construct and the effectiveness of interviewing tactics meant to facilitate rapport. Recent
systematic reviews of the rapport literature have begun to shed light on these issues.
Rapport is often described as “the quality of the interviewer-interviewee interpersonal
interaction (Neequaye & Mac Giolla, 2021; pp. 8),” with a focus on at least one of the following
attributes: positivity, mutuality, successful outcomes, respect, trust, or communication (see also
Duke et al., 2018;). Achieving rapport is often deemed beneficial, as rapport is believed to
increase the amount of information an interviewee discloses. Research suggests that the
effectiveness of rapport-approaches is a product of an interviewees perceptions of rapport, as
increased perceptions of rapport have been shown to facilitate an interviewees decision to
cooperate, leading to an increase in information disclosure (Brimbal et al., 2021; Brimbal et al.,
2019; Dianiska et al., 2021).
Several tactics have been recommended to facilitate rapport (and ultimately information
disclosure) and typically fall into one of three domains (Gabbert et al., 2021). First, relationship-
building tactics can be used to promote a personal connection between the interviewer and
interviewee. Examples include showing interest in the interviewee and finding common ground,
which can be achieved via self-disclosure of personal information by the interviewer. Second,
demeanor-based approaches can be used to characterize the interviewer as friendly and
approachable. Such behaviors include a pleasant tone of voice, smiling, and open body language.
Third, tactics that demonstrate the interviewer is paying attention can be used, including active
listening skills (e.g., nonverbal behaviors such as head nods and eye contact, and appropriate
verbal responses such as reflective statements and summaries) and empathetic responses (i.e.,
responses that demonstrate authentic concern and understanding for the interviewee’s
perspective; see Meissner et al., 2021, for more on developing rapport).
Presentation of Evidence
Accusatorial forms of evidence presentation involve confronting a suspect with evidence
early in the interview to overwhelm the suspect with incriminating information. Such evidence
presentation, however, can be detrimental to the productiveness of the interview, as it can
increase suspect resistance (Kelly et al., 2015) and offers deceptive individuals an opportunity to
create a narrative that explains the incriminating evidence (Hartwig et al., 2005). Research has
demonstrated the benefits of disclosing evidence towards the end of the interview or gradually
throughout the interview (see more on the Strategic Use of Evidence, Granhag & Hartwig, 2015,
and the Tactical Use of Evidence, Dando & Bull, 2011). Such evidence disclosure methods
increase the number of statement-evidence inconsistencies made by guilty (vs. innocent)
individuals (Oleszkiewicz & Watson, 2021).
Strategic Questioning to Assess Credibility
Interviewers can improve the accuracy of credibility assessments by implementing
strategic questioning tactics that enhance the differences between truthful and deceptive
statements (Vrij, 2015). Classifications of such tactics include (Vrij et al., 2017): (a) imposing
cognitive load (increasing cognitive demands via tactics such as instructing interviewees to tell
their narrative in reverse chronological orderinstructions that prove difficult for liars, as
fabricating information is already a cognitively-taxing task); (b) prompting interviewees to say
more (such an instruction can include a model statement that provides interviewees with an
example of the level of detail the interviewer is seekinga level of detail that may be difficult
for liars to generate); and (c) asking unanticipated questions (questions that liars most likely
would not have prepared for and, therefore, would have difficulty answering on the spot).
Overall, strategic questioning leads to increased accuracy in distinguishing liars from truth-
tellers, although this improved accuracy emerges only when individuals are trained in such
methods (Mac Giolla & Luke, 2021).
Next Steps
Despite a general shift towards science-based interviewing approaches in recent years,
accusatorial approaches continue to be taught and implemented in the interrogation of
suspects/sources. For instance, a survey of active practitioners found that American and
Canadian practitioners were more likely to endorse the use of accusatorial techniques, while
practitioners from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand were more likely to adopt science-based
approaches (Miller et al., 2018). In the transition to science-based approaches, seasoned
practitioners may adopt a “toolbox” approach that includes the continued use of accusatorial
tactics (Snook et al., 2020). Such an approach can undermine the investigative value of science-
based techniques and highlights the need for a comprehensive model of science-based
interviewing that can effectively address subject resistance (Meissner et al., 2021).
The refinement and adoption of such a comprehensive science-based interviewing model
is most likely to come about via collaborations between researchers and practitioners. Although
investigative interviewing studies conducted in the lab arguably lack a high level of ecological
validity, they are crucial to determining a technique’s efficacy (whether, and why, an
interviewing technique results in desired outcomes). Furthermore, laboratory-based research is
especially informative for understanding a technique’s diagnosticity (whether a technique can
increase the rate of true information/confessions without increasing the rate of false
information/confessions), given that ground-truth can be controlled. To truly understand the real-
world impact of an interviewing technique, however, it is critical to determine its effectiveness
(testing the technique in the field and measuring desired outcomes). This is where collaborations
with practitioners can be especially fruitful and facilitate the application and translation of
research into training protocols that can be assessed for effectiveness (Bornstein & Meissner,
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third degree to modern rapport-based methods. Modern day science-based methods are derived
from psychological theory and focused on the twin goals of gaining a subject’s cooperation and
eliciting investigation-relevant information (not confessions). This shift from a confession-
focused approach to an information-gathering approach has been key to reducing the number of
wrongful convictions based on false information or false confessions, while ensuring that justice
is served in an ethical and effective manner.
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... One example of an evidence-based informationgathering approach is the UK's PEACE model (see Milne & Bull, 1999), which consists of five steps: (1) Planning and Preparation, (2) Explain and Engage, (3) Account, (4) Closure, and (5) Evaluation. In contrast, in the accusatorial approach (such as the Reid technique; Inbau, Reid, Buckley & Jayne, 2013), the interrogator uses manipulation and control to elicit information and confessions (e.g., Meissner, Kelly & Woestehoff, 2015;Mindthoff & Meissner, 2023). More recently evidence-based information-gathering approaches have been recommended, in part based on concerns about accusatory methods leading to unreliable confessions. ...
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This archival study was the first in Sweden, and the first outside of the US and the UK, to apply the (Kelly et al., Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 9, 165-178, 2013) taxonomy of interrogation methods framework to repeated police interrogations of adult suspects in high-stakes crimes. Audio/video recordings (N = 19) were collected from the Swedish Police Authority of repeated interrogations of three suspects in three criminal cases. The interaction between interrogators and suspects were scored according to the taxonomy framework (Kelly et al., Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 9, 165-178, 2013; Kelly et al., Law and Human Behavior, 40, 295-309, 2016). First, there was an association between the use of different domains. Rapport and relationship building was moderately and negatively associated with confrontation/competition and presentation of evidence. Moreover, confrontation/competition was moderately and positively related to emotion provocation and presentation of evidence. Second, changes were observed during the interrogations. Presentation of evidence was lower in the beginning than in the middle block. Suspect cooperation was higher in the beginning than both the middle and end blocks. Third, an ordered logistic regression showed that rapport and relationship building were associated with increased suspect cooperation, and confrontation/competition and presentation of evidence were associated with decreased cooperation. The study's results are mostly in line with other taxonomy studies on high-stakes crimes from the US and the UK. The findings are discussed in light of theoretical frameworks, empirical findings, and current police practice. We also highlight the need for further research.
Full-text available
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 credibility. Over the past 50 years, research on investigative interviewing has dramatically increased to include assessing cooperative interviews with witnesses/victims, interviews with more resistant suspects and sources, and interviewing to detect deception. We review the various topics that have been examined and discuss three fundamental challenges to eliciting the truth: (i) investigative biases, (ii) the frailty of human memory, and (iii) resistance to providing information. We then introduce a model of science-based investigative interviewing that encompasses both relational and informational tactics shown to be effective in developing rapport and trust, eliciting accurate information, and facilitating judgments of credibility. Finally, we discuss the policy and practice implications of this research, including recent efforts at reform around the world.
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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 bridging this divide by focusing on a number of cardinal questions: Why influence policy? When, where, and how might we do so? How much evidence must there be before adopting a particular policy? And what policies can (or should) we address? We argue that psycholegal research should operate within a translational research framework, and we encourage scholars to communicate their findings to a broader audience, spend time with the professionals for whom their research is intended, introduce students to best practices for conducting policy-relevant research, and reconsider how we evaluate one another’s contributions in the academy.
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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 (Dianiska et al., 2019), participants completed a checklist of illegal behaviors and were then interviewed about their background and interests (the interpersonal interview) as well as about their prior participation in an illegal act (the illegal behavior interview). During the interpersonal interview, we manipulated whether the participant’s disclosure was unilateral or reciprocal (Experiment 1; N = 124), and whether the interviewer self-disclosed and/or provided the participant with verifying feedback in response to the participant’s disclosures (Experiment 2; N = 210). Participants were then asked to provide a statement about the most serious illegal behavior to which they had admitted. For both experiments, participants provided more information about the prior illegal act when the interviewer provided information about themselves. Further, there was a significant increase in the amount of information elicited from the participant when the interviewer highlighted similarity with the participant. In line with prior work, we found support for an indirect relationship between the use of rapport-building tactics and disclosure that was mediated by the participant’s perception of rapport and their decision to cooperate.
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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 rapport-based tactics and that such tactics would directly influence the interviewee’s perceptions of rapport and indirectly lead to increased cooperation and disclosure of information. Method: We trained federal, state, and local law enforcement investigators (N = 67) in the use of evidence-based interviewing techniques. Both before and after this training, investigators interviewed semi cooperative subjects (N = 125). Interviews were coded for the use of various interview tactics, as well as subjects’ disclosure. Participants also completed a questionnaire regarding their perceptions of the interviewer and their decision to cooperate with the interviewer. Results: Evaluations of the training were positive, with high ratings of learning, preparedness to use tactics, and likelihood of use following the training. In posttraining interviews, investigators significantly increased their use of evidence-based tactics, including productive questioning, conversational rapport, and relational rapport-building tactics. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that investigators’ use of the evidence-based interview tactics was directly associated with increased perceptions of rapport and trust and indirectly associated with increased cooperation and information disclosure. Conclusions:We demonstrated that rapport-based interview tactics could be successfully trained and that using such tactics can facilitate perceptions of rapport and trust, reduce individuals’ resistance to cooperate, and increase information yield.
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Expert witnesses and scholars disagree on whether suggestibility and compliance are related to people’s tendency to falsely confess. Hence, the principal aim of this review was to amass the available evidence on the link between suggestibility and compliance and false confessions. We reviewed experimental data in which false confessions were experimentally evoked and suggestibility and compliance were measured. Furthermore, we reviewed field data of potential false confessions and their relationship with suggestibility and compliance. These diverse databases converge to the same conclusion. We unequivocally found that high levels of suggestibility (and to a lesser extent compliance) were associated with an increased vulnerability to falsely confess. Suggestibility measurements might be informative for expert witnesses who must evaluate the false confession potential in legal cases. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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The current meta‐analysis examines the cognitive approach to lie detection. Our goal was to assess the practical utility of this approach by examining whether it improves the lie detection ability of human observers. The cognitive approach to lie detection led to an average accuracy rate of 60.00%, 95% CI [56.42; 63.53] and a bias corrected average accuracy rate of 55.03%, 95% CI [48.83; 61.16]. Critically, this result is moderated by whether observers were informed, or not, about which cues to focus on. Naïve observers had average accuracy rates of 52.37%, 95% CI [48.80%; 55.93%], little better than chance. In contrast, informed observers had average accuracy rates of 75.81%, 95% CI [71.52%; 79.86%]. This promising result is qualified by indications of publication bias, considerable heterogeneity between studies, and a lack of research on important practical issues, such as the influence of counter‐measures. Although these shortcomings raise a note of caution, we remain optimistic about future research on the topic.
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This meta-analytic review examines the most fundamental question for disclosing evidence during suspect interviews: What are the effective options for when to disclose the available evidence? We provide an update to Hartwig and colleagues (2014) meta-analysis of the efficacy of the late and early disclosure methods on eliciting statement-evidence inconsistencies from guilty and innocent suspects. We also extend these analyses to include studies comparing gradual disclosure to early and late disclosure when interviewing guilty suspects. Finally, we test whether a gradual disclosure leads to greater provision of novel investigative information when interviewing guilty suspects. Overall, we find that guilty suspects provide more statement-evidence inconsistencies than innocent suspects, and that both a late and gradual disclosure result in more statement-evidence inconsistencies than the early disclosure when interviewing guilty suspects. However, there are indications of small study effects that warrant considerable caution when interpreting the size of some of the identified effects.
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Law Enforcement Agencies gather intelligence in order to prevent criminal activity and pursue criminals. In the context of human intelligence collection, intelligence elicitation relies heavily upon the deployment of appropriate evidence‐based interviewing techniques (a topic rarely covered in the extant research literature). The present research gained unprecedented access to audio recorded telephone interactions (N = 105) between Source Handlers and Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) from England and Wales. The research explored the mean use of various question types per interaction and across all questions asked in the sample, as well as comparing the intelligence yield for appropriate and inappropriate questions. Source Handlers were found to utilise vastly more appropriate questions than inappropriate questions, though they rarely used open‐ended questions. Across the total interactions, appropriate questions (by far) were associated with the gathering of much of the total intelligence yield. Implications for practice are discussed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
A growing body of research illustrates consensus between researchers and practitioners that developing rapport facilitates cooperation and disclosure in a range of professional information gathering contexts. In such contexts, rapport behaviors are often intentionally used in an attempt to facilitate a positive interaction with another adult, which may or may not result in genuine mutual rapport. To examine how rapport has been manipulated and measured in professional contexts we systematically mapped the relevant evidence‐base in this field. For each of the 35 studies that met our inclusion criteria, behaviors associated with building rapport were coded in relation to whether they were verbal, non‐verbal, or para‐verbal. Methods to measure rapport were also coded and recorded, as were different types of disclosure. A Searchable Systematic Map was produced to catalogue key study characteristics. Discussion focuses on the underlying intention of the rapport behaviors that featured most frequently across studies.