making a case

interviewing witness

interviewing suspects

creating a profile

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  • Created by: alison
  • Created on: 17-06-10 12:56

interviewing witnesses

witnesses are easily influenced (loftus and Palmer leading questions 1947)

memory is reconstructive ( uses cues and schemas to construct a memory)

things that influence the memory are ...... recognising faces (BRUCE 1999)

weapons focus (LOFTUS 1987)

cognitive interview (FISHER 1989)

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the studies

BRUCE 1999

external and internal features or facial recognition


weapons focus


field test of cognitive interview

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BRUCE 1999

How recognisable are external and internal facial features

3 different lab experiments

experiment 1 - 30 pps staff n students from uni

paid £2 to sort out facial compositions of celebrities

had to match external or internal feature to celeb face

experiment 2 - 48 undergraduates from same uni (21 men n 27 women)

photo line up (distractor faces) had to pick out celeb face from internal and external composites.

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experiment 1 - whole faces and external feature got similar results 35% correct

internal features only 19.5% correct

experiment 2 - 42% of the external features were identified more easily than 24% internal features

results were above chance

internal features harder to identify - useful with making witness images.

not life like situation so results may not be reliable.

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1987 - Weapons focus

a lab experiment to find evidence to support the weapon focus theory

36 psychology students (either paid £3.50 or given extra credit)

where shown slide of people in a que

main group person B had a gun

control group person B had a cheque. all other slides were identicle.

had to answer a 20 question questionnaire

asked to identify person with gun/ cheque out of 12 and to scale out of 6 how sure they were.

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questionnaire showed no significant difference

in the line up

control 38.9% choose correct person

gun 11.1% choose correctly

no significent difference between confidence of result

pps did spend more time looking at weapon

second experiment done to back up 1st (shows reliability)

doesnt really reflect real situations ( emotions different)

helped police - shown weapons effect witness reliability

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FISHER 1989 the 4 principle

INTERVIEW SIMILARITIES - memory is enhanced if psychological enviroment is the same ( should try to recreate thoughts and feelings)

FOCUS RETRIEVAL - no interuppting the rain of thought should totally concentrate on remembering

EXTENSIVE RETRIEVAL - encouraged to make as many retrieval attempts as necessary

WITNESS COMPATIBLE QUESTIONING - questions must fit the witnesses unique mental repretation ( each person stores and organises the memorys diffferently)

supports geiselmann 1985

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fisher 1989 the experiment

did use actual interviews of real witnesses

16 detectives with atleast 5 yrs experience did the interviews.

had to record interviews using normal techniques (88 interviews) low rate thefts mainly

then split into 2 groups 1 trained in cognitive interview

more interviews were reccorded

resultsci 47% more information from witness and 63% more than the control

no difference in reliability of witness

more reliable because real-life. backed up by other study. was objective. has been very useful.

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MANN - police detecting lies - 2004

INBAU -the REID nine steps of interrogation - 1986

GUDJOHNSSON - false confessions -1990

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MANN ET AL - 2004 the results

to test how well police officers can detect lies when interviewing a suspect.

it was a filed experiment

99 kent officers/ 24 females 75 males / 78 detective 8 trainers 4 traffic officers 9 uniformed responce

asked to judge weather suspect was telling the truth ( real life interviews but where done as video clips) showed only the face and turso with other evidence.

had to fill out a questionnaire boutn detecting lies/ had to say wheather they thought the person was lying or not and how confident they where with there decision, then had to list there reasons.

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MANN ET AL 2004 the results!

mean lie accuracy 66.2% truth accuracy 63.6% (no significant difference)

but greater than chance.

frequent evidence of lies =1st gazing. movement/ fidgetting .vagueness.contradictions


highest level of accuracy than most studies show

had no control ( for ethical reasons)

could be story faults (given evidence) rather than body language

not real life interviews so less generalisable

given lie detecting instructions in police manuel.

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developed an interrogatin technique that used a mass amount of facts to make the suspect think they had to confess. involved allowing the police to lie/ use tricks if necesssary. not in favour of the miranda rights n tried to fight it.

step 1- direct confrontation - told they commited the crime

2 - chance to shift blame/ justify actions. show sympathy so sus feel its easier to confess

step 3 - dnt let suspect deny guilt, inturrupt them if they try/ dnt give the psy advantage.

step 4 - try to give reason why its not them. ignore this to move towards a confession.

step 5 - use 1st names n eye contact. reinforce sincerity to ensure the sus is receptive

6 - sus will bcome quiter/listen. then move towards offering alternative ( crying = guilty)

7 - give alternative-a more acceptable choice that explains action(both admit guilt)

8 - get suspect to admit guilt infront of witness

9 - document admition n get them to sign a confession so they *** retract it later

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indau justifies this technique by saying it only used on people who are believed to be quilty due to what was said in the their preliminary interview

said that it could easily cause a false confession from someone who is young or mentally impaired.

this technique is not allowed in the uk because psychological techniques and deception are not allowed to be used

though this technique is very useful it is also has a lot of bad points such as pressure causing false confessions

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document A case about a false confession from a normal 17 yr old,she was accussed of two murders, obviously a case study.

1987 - two elderly women battered to death, they were robbed and possibly sexually assulted. sus was arrest cos of inconsciencys in his account of his movements from an earlier routine inquirey n spending more money than normal. no forensic evidence. wasnt allowed a solicitor. police got a confession. confessed to solicitor the next day aswell. after a yr in jail was released cos someone else admitted to crime.

was 14 hour interview (with breaks) started by denying everything n was constantly accussed of lying till he agreed. used alot of leading questions and suggested he was sexually incompitent which was destressing. 2nd interview he retracted his confession then made it again under pressure. was shown to be mentally stable but very suggestable.

this shows a false confeesion can come from anyone not just someone menatlly ill

he was shown to be very suggestable and was young so not very generalisable.

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