Information-gathering vs accusatory interview style: individual differences in respondents’ experiences

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The present experiment compared information-gathering and accusatory styles of interviewing in terms of respondents’ perceptions of their degree of discomfort and cognitive demand, and the extent to which they felt they had been listened to. Forty truth tellers and forty liars were interviewed about an alleged event via an accusatory or information-gathering interview style. Information-gathering interviews were perceived as more cognitively demanding, although accusatory interviews were perceived as making respondents more uncomfortable. Respondents felt that they were listened to more in information-gathering interviews. We also observed several complex patterns relating interview type, individual differences (shyness), truth status (liars vs. truth tellers) and the respondents’ perceptions of the interview process. The results challenge some common beliefs about interview styles, namely that information-gathering interviews are easier for suspects than accusatory interviews.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-599
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


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