Cognitive interview

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  • Created by: Jack
  • Created on: 11-05-14 15:58
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A police interview technique that is used to interview eyewitnesses. It attempts to increase the
accuracy of recall as eyewitness testimony has been proven to be ineffective.
Main components of cognitive interview
1) Report everything witnesses are told to report everything they remember, not matter how
insubstantial it may seem.
2) Mentally recreating the scene interviewee encouraged to recreate the environment of the
original incident
3) Change the order of events e.g. reversing the order of events to see if this aids recall.
4) Change the perspective witness asked to imagine what somebody else at the scene would
have seen.
A meta analysis found that CI had a 34% better recall than normal interviews. (However, most of
these studies were lab experiments low mundane realism, which is the opposite of what we
want for this kind of research)
Cognitive interview is a collection of techniques not just a single procedure. This makes it
difficult to make it a universal process (e.g. different places will want to use certain parts).
Interviews with police officers have shown that they consider CI to be too
timeconsuming and therefore don't use all techniques or do them fully/properly. This
means the accuracy of the eyewitness' recall will not have improved at all, making the
whole CI process meaningless.
Memon found that detectives only got 4 hours of basic CI training, which didnt increase
the accuracy of results at all.


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