Detainee and layperson’s expectations and preferences regarding police interview rooms

Katherine Hoogesteyn, Ewout H. Meijer, Aldert Vrij

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Emerging research on how suspects perceive the physical environment during investigative interviews yields contrasting findings. While previous studies have suggested that a room made to be physically comfortable may be optimal for interviewing suspects, another study found it can instead lead to higher suspicion of the investigator’s intentions. The current study examined current detainees’ and general population participants’ beliefs about a room that resembled a “typical” interview room, and one decorated to be warm, inviting, and comfortable. Participants also provided descriptive information about their perceptions of police interview environments (e.g., preferences, expectations). We hypothesized that the decorated room would elicit higher ratings of suspicion and wariness compared to the “typical” room. Our findings showed that, overall, participants expected to be interviewed in the “typical” room but preferred the decorated one. Contrary to our expectations, they rated the “typical” room higher on feelings of suspicion than the decorated room. The decorated room also corresponded with what participants reported to be an environment that promotes disclosure. These results bode well for conducting investigative interviews in comfortable environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0241683
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2020


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