Examining witness interviewing environments

Katherine Hoogesteyn, Ewout H. Meijer, Aldert Vrij

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Abstract

The literature on information elicitation in psycholegal settings has predominantly focused on the investigator–interviewee dynamic, with little attention to the environment in which the interview takes place. The present study compared the impact of two interview locations on the disclosure of crime‐related information and perceptions of rapport building. Participants experienced a virtual reality mock crime, and 1 week later were interviewed at either their homes, or a formal room akin to a real‐world police interview room. Participants in the home setting reported feeling more at ease and in control compared to participants interviewed in the formal room. However, we found no differences between conditions on the quantity and quality of information disclosure and participants' perceptions of rapport building. Based on our findings, we found no advantages or disadvantages for conducting witness interviews at their homes. However, these results underscore the practicality of interviewing witnesses outside the police interview room if deemed as more convenient.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Early online date28 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 28 May 2020

Keywords

  • interview environment
  • interview location
  • investigative interviewing
  • rapport-building
  • witness-interviews

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