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Modifying the cognitive interview: countenancing forensic application by enhancing practicability

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Abstract:

The UK investigative interview model advocates police officers use the cognitive interview (CI). However, research has indicated that many officers perceive the CI as too cumbersome, complex, and time consuming for some types of crime. With this in mind we investigate the efficacy of two CI procedures, which have been substantially modified to enhance forensic practicability and retain the empirically demonstrated CI superiority effect. Employing the mock witness paradigm, both are compared to the procedure currently taught to UK police officers. Participant's memorial performance revealed no differences across interview conditions for the amount of correct and incorrect recall. However, those interviewed using the modified procedures confabulated less and were more accurate. Considering type of information recalled (person, action, object, and surrounding), no differences were found across conditions for correct or confabulated type recall. However, the two modified CIs elicited fewer incorrect person and object information items. Further, they were shorter in duration than the current procedure. Hence, for frontline less serious crime, or in time critical situations, the modified procedures may be viable alternatives. These findings and their implications are discussed.

Keywords: cognitive interview; enhanced practicability; eyewitness memory; modified; police

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10683160903334212

Affiliations: 1: Psychology,University of Lancaster, Lancaster, UK 2: Psychology Department,London South Bank University, London, UK 3: University of Portsmouth, Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, Portsmouth, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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