Assessing the Strategic Use of Evidence Using a Psychologically Realistic Paradigm: Improving Diagnosticity of Elicited Information in the Interrogation Room
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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strategic use of evidence, interrogation, confession, deception detection, evidence disclosure, statement-evidence inconsistencies, police, suspect, questioning, law enforcement
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The Strategic Use of Evidence (SUE) is an interrogation method that uses strategic timing (e.g., early vs. late disclosure) and framing of evidence disclosure to elicit verbal cues that can help interrogators discriminate between liars and truth-tellers. Despite mounting empirical support for its efficacy, there are gaps in the SUE literature that the present research addresses (e.g., studying SUE using a psychologically realistic interrogation paradigm). In Study 1, community members engaged in a supposed government-funded knowledge test. During testing, a research assistant posing as another participant prompted (guilty condition) or did not prompt (innocent condition) participants to cheat. An interrogator then accused both guilty and innocent participants of cheating and questioned them using either: early disclosure (evidence presented before questioning; antithesis of SUE), late disclosure (evidence presented after questioning; original SUE), SUE-Confrontation (SUE-C; evidence presented incrementally, with statements inconsistent with the evidence being pointed out), or SUE-Confrontation/Explain (SUE-C/E; same as SUE-C, but suspects are asked to explain statement-evidence inconsistencies). The interrogation ended with a confession elicitation phase. The results revealed that guilty (vs. innocent) participants were more likely to confess, but evidence disclosure method did not influence confessions. When SUE-C or SUE-C/E was used, guilty (vs. innocent) participants’ statements were more inconsistent with the evidence. To assess whether SUE-C and SUE-C/E are also effective in enhancing deception detection accuracy, Study 2 participants viewed Study 1 interrogation videos (one guilty, one innocent) in which either early disclosure, late disclosure, SUE-C, or SUE-C/E was used. After making initial veracity judgments, participants read that interviewees had confessed, and then rendered a second veracity judgment. Findings indicated that SUE-C/E and late disclosure resulted in deception detection accuracy that significantly exceeded chance responding. Furthermore, post-confession accuracy rates exceeded chance responding in only the SUE-C/E condition. Taken together, these studies’ results lend support for the implementation of SUE, and especially SUE-C/E, methods during interrogations. Future studies should focus on continuing to refine SUE and developing effective training programs for law enforcement.
Mindthoff, Amelia R., "Assessing the Strategic Use of Evidence Using a Psychologically Realistic Paradigm: Improving Diagnosticity of Elicited Information in the Interrogation Room" (2020). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4487.
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