RECAP • How can anxiety have a positive effect on accuracy of EWT? • How can anxiety have a negative effect on accuracy of EWT? • Research to support/refute?
Improving the accuracy of EWT:The cognitive interview Objectives: To be able to describe the cognitive interview To be able to evaluate the cognitive interview
Watch the following clip What do they remember about the crime? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVHWn3m2PDE Identifying the murderer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZhcp6dOKds
The cognitive interview How does it actually work?Answer the questions as you watch
The cognitive interview Geiselman (1992) EWT can be improved if the police used better techniques when interviewing witnesses. Four main techniques that are used…
RECAP • What is the aim of the cognitive interview? • How is the cognitive interview different from the standard interview? • What are the 4 stages of the cognitive interview?
Step 1: Report Everything • Witnesses are encouraged to include every single detail of the event, even though it may seem irrelevant or the witness doesn’t feel confident about it • Details that may seem trivial may trigger other important memories.
Step 2: reinstate context • The witness should return to the original crime scene ‘in their mind’ and imagine the environment (what the weather was like, what they could see) and their emotions such as what were their feelings • This is related to context-dependent forgetting
Step 3: reverse the order • Events should be recalled in a different chronological order to the original sequence, e.g. from the final point back to the beginning or from middle to beginning . • This is done to prevent people reporting their expectations of how the event must have happened rather than the actual events. • It also prevents dishonesty (harder for people to produce an untruthful account if they have had to reverse it.
Step 4: change perspective • Witnesses should recall the incident from other people’s perspectives For example, how it would have appeared to other witnesses or the perpetrator • This is done to disrupt the effect of expectations and schema on recall • The schema you have for particular settings (such as going into a shop) generate expectations of what would have happened and it is the schema that is recalled rather than the event itself.
Encoding specificity principle What is the encoding specificity principle? Use your booklet if you need to? • Suggests memory traces are made up of several features and to enhance recall, as many cues as possible should be used • Context provides cues that overlap between witnessing an event and retrieving information about that event • ‘context reinstatement’ is part of the CI and involves putting the witness back in the context of where they first witnessed the event
Apply your knowledge How can we apply retrieval failure of forgetting and leading questions to explain why the cognitive interview is effective? Complete the sheet…
Retrieval cues… • Retrieval theory (using cues) According to this concept, memory is much more accurate if a person is in the same state or the same place as that in which the incident originally occurred. By asking the witness to think about their mood on the day of the incident and to imagine they are back in the place where it occurred, this provides cues to help them remember.
Leading Questions… • Leading questions • Police use of leading questions (however unintentional) is one of the reasons why EWT can be inaccurate. Because the CI does not involve asking a list of questions out of context, it reduces the tendency to use leading questions
The enhanced cognitive interview Fisher & Geiselman (1986) suggested an amended version of the CI known as the enhanced cognitive interview. This seeks to build a trusting relationship between the interviewer and the witness and improve the quality of the communication between the two
The enhanced cognitive interview Important extra features of the ECI include: • Interviewer not distracting the witness with unnecessary interruptions/questions • The witness controlling the flow of information • Asking open-ended questions • Getting the witness to speak more slowly • Reducing anxiety in witnesses.
Have a go at the cognitive interview! • Half of the class are going to go outside, you are going to watch the crime and come up with some questions • They will come back in and you need to interview them.
Evaluation In pairs… think about some strengths and limitations of the cognitive interview Try to compare it to the standard interview
Research to support cognitive interview (AO3) P: There is research to support the effectiveness of the cognitive interview E: For example, Geiselman et al (1985) found that the CI procedure produced more accurate, detailed memories than the standard police interviews. E: therefore we can use this technique in a real life situation to help increase the accuracy of EWT. L: This suggests that the technique is effective.
Limitation P: the cognitive interview is time consuming E: it takes much longer that the standard police interview. For example, more time is needed to establish support with the witness and allow them time to relax. Specialist training is also needed, meaning that police forces haven’t been able to provide more than a few hours of CI. E: This means it is unlikely that the ‘proper’ version of the CI is usually used L: therefore this questions how useful the CU is at increasing accuracy of EWT.
Strength P: There is research evidence to support the effectiveness of the ECI E: A meta-analysis by Kohnken et al (1999) who looked at 50 studies found that the enhanced CI consistently provided more correct information than the standard interview used by police E: This is a strength as this indicates that there are real practical benefits to the police of using the enhanced version of the CI L: the research shows that it gives the police a greater chance of catching and charging criminals which is beneficial to society as a whole.
Limitation P: The cognitive interview also increases inaccurate information E:the techniques of CI aim to increase the amount of correct information remembered but the recall of incorrect information may also be increased E: Kohnken et al (1999) found 81% increase of correct information but also 61% increase of incorrect information when the enhanced CI was compared to standard police interview L: Therefore…
Plenary Outline the 4 stages of the cognitive interview