Does the narrative style of video-evidence influence judgements about rape complainant testimony?

Nina J. Westera, Blake M. McKimmie, Mark R. Kebbell, Rebecca Jane Milne, Barbara Masser

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Abstract

Four studies investigated lawyers’ concerns that the narrative style of police interviews with adult rape complainants reduces the impact of this interview as video-evidence. Study 1 (N = 96) compared mock juror perceptions of simulated evidence-in-chief either in traditional short-answer or narrative style and found testimony style was not a predictor of complainant credibility. Studies 2 (N = 104), 3 (N = 102) and 4 (N = 102) examined different variables that change with testimony style—the number of questions asked, overall testimony length and response length. The number of questions asked was the only predictor of complainant credibility; more questions resulted in higher credibility ratings. These findings suggest that lawyers’ concerns about narrative style interviewing are unwarranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-646
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date14 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • investigative interview
  • cognitive interview
  • eyewitness testimony
  • credibility
  • rape

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