Simulating interrogation in the lab: examining the effectiveness of physical pain, coercive verbal pressure, and rapport-building for obtaining reliable information

Shannon C. Houck, Joeann M. Salvati, Aldert Vrij, Leonard S. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Three lab experiments used an interrogation simulation to examine the relative effectiveness of pain, coercive verbal pressure, and rapport-building for obtaining reliable information. Investigators questioned participants about information they were instructed to keep secret. We measured how many people gave reliable and unreliable information under pain (Study 1; N = 49), verbal pressure alone and in combination with pain (Study 2; N = 87), and verbal pressure and pain compared to a rapport-based interrogation (Study 3; N = 158). Results empirically support much of what field experts and scholars have previously claimed: pain and psychological coercion result in unreliable information.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Security Research
Early online date22 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 22 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • interrogation simulation
  • coercion
  • physical pain
  • rapport
  • intelligence

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