IIIRG 2018

In July, 2018, Alejandra De La Fuente Vilar, Renan Saraiva, Feni Kontogianni, Charlotte Hudson, Aleks Izotovas, Pamela Hanway, and Gary Dalton will present their research at the 11th Annual Conference of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (IIIRG) in Porto, Portugal.

 

You can read their abstracts below.

 

Estimating eyewitness free recall performance with metamemory measures and memory tests

R. Saraiva, L. Hope, J. Ost, P. Van Koppen, R. Horselenberg & J. Sauer

 

 

Estimating eyewitness memory accuracy is crucial in forensic settings, given the need for efficient investigations and the negative consequences of eyewitness mistakes. Confidence can be a reliable indicator of performance, but eyewitnesses are also prone to over/under-confidence. We examine whether different metamemory measures and memory tests might provide informative estimates of eyewitness accuracy and confidence in free recall tests. Participants first completed the Multifactorial Memory Questionnaire (MMQ), the Squire Subjective Memory Questionnaire, and questions on cognitive skills. Later, participants (N = 189) watched a video of a mock crime and provided a free recall statement about what they could remember. Confidence ratings for each piece of information provided was obtained using a scale that ranged from 0% (not at all certain) to 100% (totally certain). Next, participants took part in one of four memory tests (free recall; cued-recall; face recognition; or general knowledge). We expect that H1) individuals with higher metamemory scores will be more accurate and more confident in the free recall procedure, and H2) performance in the different memory tests will be predictive of eyewitness performance. Data collection is ongoing to achieve a sample size with enough power to test our main hypothesis (N = 200).

 

What if Witnesses are Uncooperative? – A Glimpse on Current Interviewing Practice in The Netherlands

A. De La Fuente Vilar, R. Horselenberg, & P. J. van Koppen

Objectives

Research has informed best practice guidelines to interview witnesses however, their efficacy and application are highly dependent on the level of cooperation from the interviewee, questioning their suitability when witnesses do not cooperate. Despite its importance, how to best interview uncooperative witnesses has received little attention. We aimed to obtain an insight into current interviewing practice when conducting investigative interviews with uncooperative witnesses.

Method

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten police officers working as interviewers, interviewing instructors, and researchers. Transcribed interviews were analysed following a thematic analysis.

Results

Witness cooperation had a significant impact on interviewing style. Officers identified the lack of a specific interviewing protocol and training to gain witness cooperation as challenging. This leads to intuitive interviewing, and great variance in preferred interviewing strategies and question type. While some focus on building rapport and facilitate witness protection to promote disclosure, others focus on confronting witnesses with the legal consequences of lack of cooperation and making moral appeals to overcome witness resistance.

Conclusion

Witnesses’ unwillingness to disclose information during investigative interviews can hinder criminal investigations. Understanding how uncooperative witnesses are interviewed informs how to improve interviewing practice that promotes cooperative reporting and facilitate eliciting complete and accurate witness accounts.

 

Mnemonic Techniques and Lie Detection: Accuracy of Truth and Deception Judgments in Repeated Accounts

A. Izotovas, A. Vrij, L. Hope, S.. Mann, P.A. Granhag, & L. Strömwall

 

Mnemonic Techniques and Lie Detection: Accuracy of Truth and Deception Judgments in Repeated Accounts

In this study we examined whether the use of memory-enhancing techniques (mnemonics) in interviews can be helpful to distinguish truth tellers from liars. In the previous study (Izotovas et al., 2017), it was found that when mnemonic techniques were used in the interview immediately after the event, truth-tellers reported more details than liars in those immediate interviews and again after a delay. Moreover, truth-tellers, but not liars, showed patterns of reporting indicative of genuine memory decay.

In the current experiment, participants (n = 92) were asked to read the repeated statements reported by participants in the Izotovas et al.’s (2017) study and decide whether a statement they read was truthful or deceptive. One group of participants (informed condition) received information about the findings of the previous study before reading the statement. The other group received no information before reading the statement (uninformed condition). It was found that truthful statements were judged more accurately in the informed condition (65.2%) than in the uninformed condition (47.8%). However, in both conditions deceptive statements were detected at chance level (52.2%). Theoretical and practical implications of the findings will be discussed during the conference presentation.

 

Testing a Multi-Modal Interviewing Format for recall of repeated events

F. Kontogianni, E. Rubinova, L. Hope, P. J. Taylor, A. Vrij, F. Gabbert

 

Given the ways that memory for repeated experiences differs from memory of unique experiences, we developed a Multi-Modal Interviewing Format (MMIF) combining the self-generated cues mnemonic, the Timeline Technique, and follow-up open-ended questions, to facilitate recall and reporting of repeated events by adults. Over the course of a week, 150 participants watched four scripted videos depicting meetings of a terrorist network planning an attack and carrying out a presumed bomb disposal. Three videos were highly similar while a fourth video was similar (typical content condition) or differed in two critical details to introduce a deviation to the script (changed content condition). A week later, participants returned to provide their account using the MMIF, the Timeline Technique alone or free recall. Higher correct recall rates and fewer source confusion errors were expected in the changed content condition compared to the typical content condition. The use of the MMIF was hypothesized to elicit more correct information compared to the Timeline Technique and to free recall with fewer source confusion errors between occurrences. Results will be discussed in relation to eliciting information for repeated events in applied settings.

 

You Know It Takes Two: Understanding Variance in Interviewer and Witness Performance

C. A. Hudson, L. P. Satchell & N. Adams-Quackenbush

 

As investigative interviews are complex, dyadic activities, it is important to conduct research reflective of idiosyncrasies in witnesses, interviewers and unique pairings of both. This study explores such sources of variation by making use of a ‘round-robin’ design. This methodology allows the statistical demonstration of individual difference and unique partner-generated variance in interview performance. In our study, a total of 45 witnesses were questioned about five real crime videos. After witnessing each event, witnesses were interviewed by a different interviewer (or a computer self-administered interview). In total, nine ‘rounds’ of interviews occurred, with five new witnesses being interviewed in the same five interview settings (resulting in 225 interviews). After each interview both interviewers and witnesses were asked to complete subjective interview experience ratings. The quality and quantity of information in the statements was coded to index witness report accuracy. Principally, the results demonstrated how the information gathering process can be attributed largely to the unique pairing of interviewer and witness, more than based solely on interviewer questioning preference or witness memory. Whilst interpersonal behaviour can be a focus of interviewer training, the interviewer-explained variance in key behaviours such as suggestive and leading questioning suggests there is still opportunity for development.

 

The effects of cognitive load on investigative interviewers’ recall and their perception of mental workload during an interview

P. Hanway, L. Akehurst, Z. Vernham, L. Hope

 

Psychological research has informed best practice guidance for interviewing children and vulnerable witnesses. However, interviewers do not always comply with the guidance. Interviewers have to listen actively, remember what an interviewee is saying and formulate hypotheses to account for the events described by interviewees. These attentional demands rely on available cognitive capacity, but people have a limited capacity to perform difficult tasks thus resulting in a cognitive load for interviewers. The current research examined the effects of cognitive load for investigative interviewers. Three groups of participants were given three different sets of instructions, to manipulate cognitive load, prior to watching a video recorded free narrative of a child witness. The accuracy of the participants’ recall about the child’s account was examined as was participants’ perceived mental workload during their task. The findings will provide an understanding of the impact of cognitive load on investigative interviewers’ memory of the testimony of a child and their perceptions of how difficult they found the task.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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