The dynamic interaction between eyewitnesses and interviewers: The impact of differences in perspective on memory reports and interviewer behavior

Amy Bradfield-Douglass, Neil Brewer, Carolyn Semmler, Lorena Bustamante, Alexa Hiley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Despite myriad possible differences in perspectives brought to an investigative interview by eyewitnesses and interviewers, little is known about how such differences might affect eyewitness memory reports or interviewer behavior. Two experiments tested the impact of such differences in a dynamic interaction paradigm in which participants served as eyewitnesses and interviewers. In Experiment 1 (N = 38 pairs), reporting goals for eyewitnesses and interviewers were manipulated in a factorial design, with participants instructed to provide or obtain either as much information as possible or only accurate information. Matching interviewer-interviewee instructions promoted accurate reporting, regardless of the actual content of the instructions. In Experiment 2 (N = 45 pairs), access to information about corroborating eyewitness identifications was manipulated in a factorial design. Corroborating information affected interviewers, but not eyewitnesses. When interviewers did not have access to corroborating information, they provided more negative feedback, and there was a trend toward interrupting more and asking more yes/no questions. These experiments indicate that differences in perspective can have effects on both the content of a witness's report and the behavior of an interviewer. The potential for differences in perspective should be considered in research on protocols intended to maximize eyewitness report accuracy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)290-301
    Number of pages12
    JournalLaw and Human Behavior
    Volume37
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

    Keywords

    • Eyewitness
    • Interviews
    • Investigative interview
    • Report accuracy

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