Effective Police Interviewing
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Suspect interviewing is a vital tool for law enforcement agencies. However, a large body of empirical literature has demonstrated that many interviewing techniques limit the amount of information gleaned and demonstrate chance levels of deception detection accuracy. The series of studies presented provide evidence that the application of Reality Monitoring (RM) to statements elicited by a modified version of the Cognitive Interview for Suspects (CIS) improves deception detection accuracy in comparison to levels previously reported in the literature. Study 1 considers deception detection accuracy in statements provided in a mock theft scenario. Participants were interviewed using a modified version of the CIS. Six RM criteria were applied to all statements as a measure of deception detection. This study found an overall accuracy rating of 86.6%, supporting the use of this protocol. Study 2 directly compares deception detection accuracy of RM to the subjective judgements of observers. Three hundred and ninety observers judged deceptiveness of 100 CIS interviews previously recorded in Study 1. Collectively the average level of accuracy for observer ratings of the first question of the CIS interviews was 52.73% and only 47.82% at the conclusion of the interview. Observer ratings of deception became significantly less accurate at the conclusion of the interview (t(389) = 4.75, p <.01). In contrast, the RM scale was highly accurate (92.5 %) in a direct comparison of the same interviews. Study 3 considers whether certain personality traits, namely psychopathy and social dominance, increase successful deception both in terms of observer ratings and Reality Monitoring. Findings indicate that social dominance was related to increased observer ratings of honesty over time, however socially dominant people were not particularly successful deceivers. Similarly, psychopathic traits were not significantly related to deceptive ability overall. However, Factor 2 psychopathy was linked to being less believable by observers, even when telling the truth. These personality traits were not linked to an increased ability to beat Reality Monitoring, providing further evidence for the use of this scale. Collectively, the studies presented provide evidence of the effectiveness of the use of Reality Monitoring on statements derived from the Cognitive Interview for Suspects.