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The Cognitive Interview, exploring its effectiveness in the UK and Mexico

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posted on 02.03.2016, 12:34 by Marisol Elizalde Monjardin
Eyewitnesses are interviewed by police officers or other law enforcers in a bid to obtain information to help solve a crime. The Cognitive Interview (CI) was developed by Geiselman and Fisher (and colleagues) in the 1980‟s, as an alternative to the existing interviews. Research on the CI has demonstrated its ability to enhance eyewitnesses‟ memory recall (see Köhnken, Milne, Memon, & Bull, 1999; Memon, Meissner, & Fraser, 2010 for reviews). The present thesis aimed to expand our understanding of the CI, specifically its effectiveness in a sample of participants from Mexico. It compared willingness to report crime and memory performance between participants from the UK and Mexico. A series of four studies were conducted on university students. Study 1 examined participants‟ willingness to report a crime in the UK and Mexico. Study 2 compared the performance of CI mnemonic techniques used in different combinations in participants from the UK and Mexico. Study 3 examined the effectiveness of a Modified Cognitive Interview and a control interview for positive, neutral and negative events amongst participants from the UK and Mexico. Study 4 explored the impact of misleading information on memory recall through a CI and a control interview in participants from Mexico. The results highlight some key findings: a) participants from Mexico are less willing to report a crime and report fewer details of the event than participants from the UK, b) combinations of the CI mnemonic techniques can reduce interview duration while maintaining a high level of memory recall, c) a misinformation effect was found following the introduction of misleading postevent information regardless of interview type and d) the emotional valence of an event overclouds the enhanced memory recall effect of a MCI. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed, as well as limitations and further research suggestions.



Palmer, Emma; Hatcher, Ruth

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School of Psychology

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University of Leicester

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