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Cognitive Interviews

Page history last edited by Ashley Steverson 11 years, 7 months ago


Cognitive Interviews




      Cognitive interviews are used primarily by police officers and investigators to gain information from eye witnesses and victims of crimes. The introduction of cognitive interviews was brought about by the desire for greater accuracy in witness recall than typically obtained by standard police interviews. Techniques utilized in cognitive interviews are numerous, which is considered a main reason for their effectiveness. On the other hand, training individuals to use these techniques requires resources that standard interviewing procedures may not, and the training as well as the interviews can be time consuming. However, as shown by psychological research, cognitive interviews help to ascertain more accurate information from witnesses than standard interview techniques.


      Cognitive interviews combine a handful of techniques that elicit increased memory retrieval as compared to standard interviews, by engaging more aspects of an individual's cognition. One cognitive interview technique is asking witnesses to almost relive the incident, by asking them 
what each of their senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) was aware of. A related technique is emphasizing detail by urging witnesses to report even the smallest and seemingly insignificant details, because they can be significant and/or they can trigger other untapped memories. Other techniques include asking the witness to describe the scene from a different perspective and describe the events in a different order. Each of these techniques can be helpful in identifying otherwise unreachable aspects of the scene or event that the witness may not have realized he or she remembered. The combination of these cognitive interview techniques is more likely to promote a higher quantity and quality of memory retrieval for crucial events than standard interview techniques because of the multiple approaches to memory retrieval.



            Related Links:



This article gives a brief but comprehensive overview of cognitive interviews, providing an example, a description of the techniques, a research study about the effectiveness of cognitive interviews, and a video.



This article is also an overview of cognitive interviews, but it gives additional pros and cons as well as the results of more research on cognitive interviews.



This website describes the principles of memory retrieval that cognitive interviews utilize.



This article discusses why cognitive interviews work, namely because they access multiple routes to memory retrieval.



This article reports research that has supported that cognitive interviews are more accurate than other types of interviews.



This article is an in depth "how to" guide for conducting cognitive interviews.



This article is part of a training website that helps investigators learn how to conduct cognitive interviews.



This article describes how to look out for lying during cognitive interviews.



This video is an informational lecture about cognitive interviews. 



This video is a dramatization of how a cognitive interview is conducted.




This page was developed by Ashley Steverson.


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