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Eyewitness Performance in Cognitive and Structured Interviews

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This paper addresses two methodological and theoretical questions relating to the Cognitive Interview (CI), which previous research has found to increase witness recall in interviews. (1) W hat are the effects of the CI mnemonic techniques when communication techniques are held constant? (2) How do trained interviewers compare with untrained interviewers? In this study, witnesses (college students) viewed a short film clip of a shooting and were questioned by interviewers (research assistants) trained in conducting the CI or a Structured Interview (SI)similar to the CI except for the "cognitive" components-or by untrained interviewers (UI). The CI and SI groups recalled significantly more correct information compared to the UI group. However they also reported more errors and confabulated details. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed in terms of precisely identifying the CI facilitatory effects and consequent good practice in the forensic setting.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 1997

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