In June 2019, HAC lab members Charlotte Hudson, Haneen Deeb, and Feni Kontogianni presented their research at the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (IIIRG) Conference, in Stavern, Norway. Below you will find the abstracts of each of their talks and posters.
“He went that way!”: Consistent and detailed eyewitness deceptions
Charlotte A. Hudson, Aldert Vrij, Lucy Akehurst & Lorraine Hope
The Self-Administered Interview (SAI) is a written eyewitness recall tool that results in the elicitation of more information from cooperative, truthful witnesses than written free recall (WFR) formats. To date, SAI research has solely examined the accounts of people who are reporting truthfully from memory. In the current experiment, truthful and fabricating participants (N = 128) either completed a SAI or a WFR for a witnessed crime event (Time 1). After a delay of one week, participants were interviewed about the same crime using the Structured Interview Protocol (Time 2). Truth tellers provided more detail than liars at both Times 1 and 2 across interview conditions. Truth tellers and liars reported a similar amount of detail when using the SAI, however liars reported fewer details than truth tellers when completing the WFR. There was no difference in the amount of repetitions, reminiscences, omissions or contradictions for truth tellers and liars. In sum, although the SAI is effective in eliciting information as an initial eyewitness reporting tool, no benefits for the detection of deception were demonstrated. Reasons for this will be discussed. The preregistration for this study can be found at osf.io/y4hfw/.
When and How are Lies Told? The Role of Culture and Metacognition in Intelligence-Gathering Interviews
Haneen Deeb, Aldert Vrij, Sharon Leal, Brianna L. Verigin, Steven M. Kleinman
Deceptive suspects tend to tell embedded lies within interviews. In the context of intelligence-gathering interviews, suspects may need to disclose information about multiple events. In two studies, we examined the metacognitions and actual responses of lie-tellers from low- and high-context cultures concerning when they would report a deceptive event in an interview and how consistent they are in the amount of detail they provide. Participants were asked to think of one deceptive and three truthful events. Study 1 (N = 100) was an online study that examined participants’ plans (metacognitions) about where they would position the deceptive event when interviewed and the amount of detail they would provide for the deceptive and truthful events. Study 2 (N = 126) involved interviewing participants to examine whether lie-tellers’ metacognitions match their actual responses. In both studies, participants planned and embedded the deceptive event in the middle of the interview. Participants were consistent in the amount of detail they provided about the truthful and deceptive events, and their post-interview self-reports matched this consistency strategy more than their pre-interview self-reports. No differences emerged between low- and high-context participants for any of the results. The usefulness of these findings to practitioners and for future research is discussed.
“Tell me more about this…”: Seeking for the truth with follow-up questions
Feni Kontogianni, Lorraine Hope, Paul J. Taylor, Aldert Vrij, Fiona Gabbert
After obtaining a report about an event, interviewers might ask follow-up questions to clarify or elicit further details. However, the information provided in response to such questions may not be as accurate as spontaneously reported information. Across two experiments, we tested the efficacy of open-ended questions following an initial report provided with the timeline technique about a multi-perpetrator event, by examining the amount and accuracy of the reported information. Results from the first experiment (N = 50) show that although follow-up questions elicited new information, the accuracy of the responses was not as high as the initially reported information (60% vs 83%). In the second experiment (N = 60), we examined the use of pre-questioning instructions to improve accuracy. Half of the participants were reminded to avoid guessing, to feel free to withhold an answer, and to consider the level of detail in their answers (i.e. provide general or specific details). However, the accuracy of their responses did not improve relative to a control group. Again, responses to follow-up questions were not as accurate as the initial report (75% vs 87.5%). Results are discussed in relation to strategic reporting and the use of follow-up questions in applied settings.
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