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"A police technique for interviewing witnesses
to a crime, which encourages them to recreate
the original context in order to increase the
accessibility of stored information. Because our
memory is made up of a network of associations
rather than of discrete events, memories are
accessed using multiple retrieval strategies."…read more

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The history of Cognitive
In 1992 Fisher & Geiselman reviewed the relevant
psychological literature on memory, and related this to the way
that interviews were carried out by the police in real life. They
found that people remembered events better when they were
given retrieval cues. In a police interview this could be
accomplished by mentally reinstating the context of the events
being recalled. The cognitive interview was developed by
Fisher & Geiselman. This interviewing technique was based on
proven psychological principles concerning effective memory
recall.…read more

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Four components of the cognitive
1. Report everything ­ the interviewer encourages the
reporting of every single detail of the event, even though it
may seem irrelevant.
2. Mental reinstatement of original context ­ the
interviewer encourages the interviewee to mentally create
the environment and contacts from the original incident.
3. Changing the order ­ the interviewer may try alternative
ways throughout the time line of the incident, for example,
by reversing the order in which events occurred.
4. Changing the perspective ­ the interviewee is asked to
recall the incident from multiple perspectives, for
example, by imaging how it would have appeared to other
witnesses present at the time.
Real Men Chase Criminals…read more

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Evaluation of the cognitive interview
One of the problems of evaluating the cognitive interview is that it is
no longer just one procedure, but a collection of related techniques. For
example, while Mersyside and Thames Valley Police (TVP) are trained
to use the same interview technique, however TVP do not use the
`changing the perspective' component.
Kebbell & Wagstaff (1996) interviewed police and reported an
additional problem with the cognitive interview in practice. Police
officers suggest that this technique requires more time that is often
available and instead prefer to use deliberate strategies aimed to limit an
eye witness' report to the minimum amount of information that they
deem is necessary.
An enhanced version of the cognitive interview includes additional
cognitive techniques, however this creates additional problems because it
places even greater demands on the interviewer.
Memon et al (1994) discovered in a study that experienced detectives
only received relatively brief cognitive interview training which did not
produce any significant increases (when compared to standard
interviewing techniques) in the amount of information gained from
witnesses.…read more


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