Using the cognitive interview with adults with mild learning disabilities

Rebecca Milne, Isabel C.H. Clare, Ray Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Forty-seven adults with mild learning disabilities (mild intellectual disabilities) attending day-centres and thirty-eight adults from the general population viewed a video-recording of an accident. A day later the participants were interviewed using either a cognitive interview (CI) or a structured interview (SI, a control interview). Compared with their counterparts with learning disabilities, adults from the general population recalled more correct information and made fewer confabulations about persons and objects. Nevertheless, the type of interview had an impact. For both groups, the CI was more effective than the SI in enhancing recall although, for the 'learning disabilities' group, the CI also produced a disproportionate increase in the reporting of person confabulations. All the same, the accuracy ratios were similar across interview types (80% for the CI and 82% for the SI). It is suggested that the CI could be helpful in assisting people with learning disabilities to provide information about events they have seen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-99
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


  • Cognitive interview
  • Learning disabilities (intellectual disabilities)
  • Vulnerable adults
  • Witnesses


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