Looking at different aspects of psychological theory and research including therapeutic jurisprudence within a forensic setting.

It's all about striking a balance.

It’s all about striking a balance.

As an individual, one is entitled to their human rights throughout all walks of life – and this is especially true when it comes to victims of crime (Towl & Crighton, 2010). Unfortunately, criminogenic activity is ubiquitous in society, and thus, no – one individual, is entirely impervious to the indirect injustices’ and misfortunes that make them vulnerable to such unlawful acts of criminality (Towl & Crighton, 2010). Consequently, whilst investigating acts of crime, the testimony of victims and witnesses is a paramount, but often a poorly remembered aspect of the legal procedure (Kebbell & Milne, 1998; Rand, 1975). Therefore, there has been an increase in the acknowledgement that certain individuals’ may have distinct needs that could facilitate investigative and legal procedures (Bull, R., 2010). However, due to mixed findings reported from police officers, there are obvious circumstantial differences in obtaining information from witnesses, victims and suspects (Bull & Soukara, 2010). Thus, this article aims to explain the shortcomings of the Cognitive Interview (CI) and the developmental aspects that have been applied to improve its efficacy in in trying to facilitate a two-way dynamicism between the interviewer and the interviewee (Bull, R., 2010). Also, the article is going to look at the possible beneficial value of promoting psychological wellbeing during the interviewing process (Winick, 1997). Thusly, the concept of synergizing therapeutic jurisprudence with the CI could be highly beneficial to police in obtaining information, and militate against witnesses’ overcoming psychological problems (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010). To conclude, examining meta-analytical research and contrasting the results with that of individual research will amplify limitations in empirical based research that could further provide insight into how practical methods can be improved (Clarke, C., Milne, R., & Bull, R., 2011).

 

 

Prior to 1992, investigators in Britain received no formal interview training and the main purpose of questioning suspects was to obtain confessions (Kassin, Appleby & Perillo, 2010). Consequently, a prerequisite by law was borne into fruition in England and Wales which stipulated all police interviews with witnesses and suspects were to be fully recorded on videotape or audiotape (Zander, 1990). Therefore, despite limited research due to the sensitive nature of such material, a small number of relevant and pioneering studies (e.g. Milne & Bull, 1999; Leo, 1996) were conducted that offered significant insight into interviewing techniques and their efficacy hitherto (Fisher & Geiselman, 1992). Consequently, further research scrutinizing the state of pre-scientific interviewing was achieved by systematically combing through a sizable amount recorded interviews by American and British police (Fisher, Geiselman, & Raymond, 1987; George & Clifford, 1992). A consistent finding resulted in fewer interviews using coercive interrogative approaches (Fisher & Geiselman, 1992). However, these results evidenced that interviewers had previously counted on interrogative, coercive and oppressive tactics (Fisher & Geiselman, 1992). Thus, this proved the abundance of poor quality police interviews prior to new approaches based on scientifically driven research (Fisher, 2010).

 

1(Wiitness will henceforth be used to describe both an observer and a victim of crime)

 

Subsequently, following a number of high profile false confession cases (e.g. ‘Guildford Four,’ ‘Birmingham Six’ and ‘Tottenham Three’ [Gudjonsson, 2002]) there was a distinct need for the police service in England & Wales to adopt a more ethical and transparent approach to interviewing witnesses and suspects within a forensic setting (Clarke, Milne & Bull, 2011). Subsequently, a new approach was developed through a collaboration of police officers, psychologists and lawyers, and the mnemonic PEACE was developed to describe the five distinct parts of the updated interview approach: ‘Preparation and Planning,’ ‘Engage and Explain,’ ‘Account,’ ‘Closure,’ and ‘Evaluate’) (Clarke et al. 2011). Within PEACE, there are two styles of interviewing, namely, conversation management; for more resistant interviewees (Shepherd, 1986, 1991), and the ‘free-recall’ cognitive interview (CI) (Fisher & Geiselman, 1992); for use with co-operative interviewees (Dando, Wilcock, Behnkle & Milne, 2011). Conversely, the techniques advocates a more inquisitorial approach, which has resulted in less confrontational tactics in England and Wales, especially when compared to the confrontation-based tactics of the Reid technique implemented in the U.S. (Soukara, Bull, Vrij, Turner, & Cherryman, 2009; Bull & Soukara, 2009). As a result of its success, the CI has been attracting increasing interest in continental Europe (Williamson, Milne & Savage, 2009).

 

 

However, confusion has arisen as to the exact meaning of the CI due to the adapted ‘enhanced cognitive interview’ (ECI) and the ‘modified cognitive interview’ (MCI) (Schollum, 2005). Consequently, they are all based on Tulving’s (1983) concept that memory is a joint product of stored memory traces and retrieval cues. So, the CI, much like the ECI and the MCI is comprised of four techniques designed to enhance participants’ recall of prior events (Geiselman et al., 1984). The first technique involves context reinstatement, in which the interviewee is encouraged to mentally reconstruct the physical and personal context that existed at the time of the event (Kebbell, Milne & Wagstaff, 1999). The second technique is to ask participants to report everything they can recall even if it is partial or incomplete (Kebbell et al., 1999). The third method is based on the premise that different retrieval cues may access different aspects of a complex event (Loftus & Pickrell, 1995). The fourth method is ‘change perspective’ with witnesses recalling memories from a variety of perspectives – from their own, to the adoption of the perspectives of others (Schollum, 2005). Finally, there are engagement techniques using different temporal orders in a further attempt at retrieval (Memon, 2006). Furthermore, each technique is further broken down into smaller components (Schollum, 2005).

 

 

 

 

Subsequently, there are three particular areas that have been mentioned by police officers, which have been deemed problematic, especially with regards to low volume crime (Fisher & Geiselman, 1992). Firstly, there is the perception that procedurally, the CI takes a lot longer to conduct in comparison to a standard police interview, and time constraints often prevent the application of appropriate interview practices in the workplace (Kebbell, Milne & Wagstaff, 1999; Lamb, Sternberg, Orback, Esplin & Mitchell, 2002). This is not helped by the fact that the implementation of the traditional ‘mental reinstatement of context’ technique requires necessary contextual environments (sketching has been used to overcome resourceful demands) (Milne & Bull, 2002; Dando, Wilcock & Milne, 2009).Second, it has become evident that the interview is resourcefully taxing for the interviewer and it is cognitively demanding (Fisher & Geiselman, 1992; Fisher, Geiselman, & Amador, 1989; Kebbell et al., 1999). Third, not all the components are regularly implemented and officers have reported that their sergeants sometimes discourage the use of PEACE due to lack of resources and heavy workload (Clarke & Milne, 2001; Clifford & George, 1996; Kebbell & Milne, 1998) with officers reporting that they find some aspects of PEACE more difficult to implement and less useful than others (Kebbell et al., 1999). Additionally, officers have complained about the inflexibilities that prevent them being able to make on-the-spot decisions during interviews (Clarke & Milne, 2001).

 

 

 

Consequently, research has highlighted that the only significant difference between trained and untrained officers is that trained officers’ take longer to conduct their interviews (Clark et al., 2011). Thus, it can be argued, that this validates that police interviewers are taking more time to examine the interviewees’ accounts; a view that is confirmed by examination of the outcome data (i.e. comprehensive accounts and partial admissions took longer to give in an interview) (Clark et al., 2011). The improvement of non-PEACE trained officers could possibly be occurring due to a process of ‘osmosis’ (Clarke, Milne & Bull, 2011). Prior to the introduction of PEACE, police interviewers were viewed as inept, implementing poor interview techniques, applying bias supposition of guilt, being overly repetitive during questioning, and failing to establish relevant facts (e.g. Baldwin, 1992; Moston et al., 1992). Again, most of these aspects can be attributed to a lack of preparation (Clark, et al.,2011).

 

 

Subsequently, initial analysis of field research investigating the techniques employed by Officers when interviewing real witnesses had revealed idiosyncratic shortcomings (Fisher et al. 1987). Thus, most interviews lacked a uniform structure, with officers questioning techniques resulting in brief responses from witnesses arbitrarily confirming with; or contradicting officers’ intuition (Fisher et al, 1987). In particular, interrupting witnesses throughout their initial account, eliciting very brief, short, and closed off answers (Fisher, et al. 1987). Furthermore, all of the interviews were constructed using a series of direct short-answer questions requiring too much specificity (Fisher & Shreiber, 2007). Consequently, this resulted in discouraged witnesses acquiescing and eliciting unsolicited information, which, in turn, caused the interviewer to ask irrelevant questions (Fisher, et al. 1987). Furthermore, Officers interviewing methods displayed a general lack of communication skills, which encouraged witnesses to speculate information regardless of whether they knew the answers or not (Fisher et al, 1987; George & Clifford, 1992). Moreover, inappropriate language, judgmental comments, non-neutral wording of questioning, and negative phrasing had the tendency to solicit more glaring errors from witnesses (George, 1991; McLean, 1995). Subsequently, asking leading and suggestive questions, distorts witnesses’ recollections – especially in the case of vulnerable adults and child witnesses (Schreiber et al., 2006). Unfortunately, these interviewing errors still exist when police have lacked proper training (Fisher & Schreiber, 2007).

 

 

Nevertheless, in a follow up study, Fisher and Geiselman (1992) included a framework for building rapport and communicating effectively with witnesses, which integrated the enhanced version of the CI. Tellingly, the enhanced CI is an approach that is very much witness-centred and this is a key element of the enhanced CI (Fisher and Geiselman, 1992). Consequently, there are important steps within Fisher & Geiselman’s (1992) framework including discouraging the interviewer from interrupting thus, taking a more active role in listening and allowing the witness to control the flow of information (Dando, Wilcock, Behnkle, & Milne, 2011). Moreover, in similar custom to the ECI, the interviewer facilitates this process by making use of open-ended questions about neutral topics (Dando, et al. 2011). Furthermore, the interview involves context reinstatement followed by a free narrative account of the incident (Fisher, 2010). The methodology is based on a more open-ended and loose narrative account (i.e. report everything). Therefore, witnesses’ should not feel that they have to guess or fabricate, but simply tell the interviewer if they don’t know (Fisher, 2010). Evidently, this will create a more agentic, therapeutic and less anxious setting for the witness (Gudjonssen, 2010). Furthermore, with a free narrative, the interviewer can question the witness about details provided and facilitated by the use of more concentrative memory techniques (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010). Principally, the best time for memory recall is when the witness is perceptually engaged on an image and this is when the interviewer should question them accordingly (Fisher & Schreiber, 2007).

 

 

Despite Fisher and Geiselman’s (1992) framework for building rapport and facilitating communication, the majority of research examining UK police officers’ interviewing techniques has focused on the interviewing of suspects (e.g. Hall, 1997;Rigg, 1999). Thus it has been found that PEACE training lacks emphasis on witness interviewing (ACPO, 2004; Fisher & Geiselman, 1992; Clarke & Milne, 2001; Milne, 1999). Furthermore, in a study conducted by Dando, Willcock & Milne (2008) over 60% of officers felt that training focused too much on suspects with over 70% reporting that they did not feel adequately equipped to interview real witnesses. Above all, they perceived witness interview training to be inadequate (Wilcock & Milne, 2008). Consequently, learning to conduct a CI requires substantial training due to the complexity, the scope of individual components and to gain acquisition above the legal threshold requirements (Dando et al., 2008). With regards to the latter, there is now promising training involving a tier system that has been implemented in the U.K. and is currently seeing good results throughout certain countries in Europe (Towl & Crighton, 2010).

 

 

However, the fact that PEACE training does not devote equal amounts of time to the development of both witness and suspect interviewing implies that officers are leaving training school with inadequate skills on the fundamental principles of witness interviewing (Kebell & Milne, 1998). However, there is clear evidence that police officers themselves acknowledge the importance of witness information and its significance in the investigative process (Kebbell & Milne, 1998). Also, this was further evidenced in a self‐report study conducted by Bull and Cherryman (1996), with 93% of the participating police officers recognising the crucial role in establishing rapport with interviewees. In Clarke and Milne’s (2001) research transcribing recorded interviews, they found that no rapport was established in 40% of the witness interviews that were examined (Vanderhallen, Vervaeke & Holmberg, 2011). Above all, due to the adversarial system (governing the justice system in England and Wales), the prosecution and the jury, predominantly usually view witness testimonies as vital to court cases, even more so than an offender’s confession, so it is of paramount importance that Officers obtain as full and accurate account as possible (Wolchover & Heaton-Armstrong, 1996; Savage & Milne, 2006).

 

 

Consequently, there been a dearth of post PEACE research investigating witness interviewing and very little – from what has been available – has examined officers’ perceptions of their witness interviewing behaviour (Kebbell et al, 1999). Needless to say, there is a two way conversational dynamic and each individual’s actions will have the capability to affect and influence the others (Kebell et al. 1999). Therefore, perceptions are an important area for further research as an officer’s beliefs and perceptions will affect the efficacy of the CI (Fisher, 2010). Moreover, if an Officers perceptions become unfavorable towards the efficacy of the CI then any comprehensive training will no doubt have a limited effect on their commitment and motivation (Fisher, 2010). Alarmingly, analysis of the type of CI used suggests that there have been substantial deviations from the original CI and enhanced CI in recent years. Studies in the early 90s examining Police Interviews revealed that there was a consistency in the implementation of the cognitive interview – however, only 32% of the studies in Memon, Meissner, & Fraser’s (2010) meta analysis used the CI. Following the publication of Fisher and Geiselman’s (1992) text on the CI, there was a move of 23% to the ECI (23% of studies), but in the last 10 years various modified and shortened versions of the CI have emerged in the literature (45% of studies) (Memon et al. 2010).

 

 

Interestingly, Longford (1996) examined officers’ views and interviewing behaviour for 12 weeks following completion of a PEACE training course. However, this was a small sample of six police officers with a mean length of service of 5.5 years (ranging from 3 years to 10 years), therefore, it could be considered a biased sample, and not representative of frontline Police Officers. In addition, these officers were nominated by their line managers to take part in the research, thus suggesting that they were well motivated and productive police officers prior to the completion of the PEACE training (Longford, 1996). As further noted, in Memon et al’s (2010) meta-analysis,the restricted use of professionally relevant samples as interviewers clearly becomes a limitation when it comes to the extrapolation of field settings. Despite non-representational samples, several important recommendations have been extracted from the few studies that have included police samples and from surveys of police officers (Memon et al. 2010). Ultimately, training police officers to change the techniques they normally use in their line of work is far more challenging than say – researchers adopting new theories to be adapted into practical methods (Memon et al. 2010).

 

 

Consequently, as witnesses are often asked to describe unpleasant – and sometimes personal – experiences to people whom they do not know, there should be more research looking into synergizing a therapeutic jurisprudence into the CI protocol (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010). Consequently, there should be psychologically contentedness and a somewhat harmonious rapport with the interviewer as the mental effort and emotional distress of describing crime-related details will be dispositional upon individual differences (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010). Furthermore, myriad critical features mark this two-way dynamic that could potentially improve memory recall by breaking down the psychological barriers (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010; Gudjonnson, 2010). Moreover, co-ordination of individual roles will effectively display sensitivity to the other’s concern (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010). Also, due to hierarchical societal echelons, there is a natural conflict between the interviewer’s social and expert status – which implicitly dictates that the interviewer should be in control of the interview – and the witness’s greater knowledge of the critical event – which, conversely, implements that the witness should control the interview (Collins, Lincoln, & Frank, 2002; Lamb, Orbach, Hershkowitz, Esplin & Horowitz, 2007). As this is a feature that is often absent from interviews, resolving conflicting tension is essential to develop meaningful, personal rapport with the witness conducting an effective dyadic interview (Collins, Lincoln & Frank, 2002; Fisher, 2010).

 

 

Fittingly, researchers have discovered that (e.g. Fisher & Geiselman, 2010; Gudjonnson, 2003) one of the most effective methods in giving the witness a feeling of more control is for the interviewer to ask open-ended questions (Soudaka, 2010). Indeed, allowing victims to take a more active and agentic role in the interview should not only increase the amount of information recalled, but, by giving the witness a voice in the investigative process, it should also promote a sense of self-efficacy and control over the interview process (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010).Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that victims often report that they feel like suspects, after a more standard form of police interviewing; being subjected to a string of specific, closed questions from the outset of an interview (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010). Thus, taking preventative measures to curb the witness into feeling less like a suspect, should contribute to the their perception of dignity and respect and thus, memory recall (Dando, 2008). Thus, the Police should apply an ethic of care in their practices during interviews as there is evidence that many legal problems have remained unresolved due to the personal issues that are intertwined with the witness that are rarely addresses(Fisher & Geiselman, 2010). Nevertheless, sometimes the goals of a forensic investigation will clash with therapeutic concerns, however, there are many case studies that highlight the benefits of using Therapeutic Jurisprudence (Gudjonsson & Pearse, 2011).

 

 

Many cautious police officers of the law will not wish to think of themselves as social workers (Bain, Baxter, McAusland & Davies, 2006). Thus, they are merely concerned with the “historical truth” as opposed to a “narrative truth” and any therapeutic value would be an added benefit if that could be achieved in the process (Wagstaff, Wheatcroft, Caddick, Kirby & Lamont, 2011). Consequently, some may object that this behavior does not subside within the sphere of the legal system and the methodology of gaining information through interviewing. However, it is fact that 80–90 percent of the cases that police officers deal with are presented with social and relational issues. Surely, there should be at least, a minimal requirement that those who advise, guide, and supervise witnesses be aware of all their needs and address them properly, through access to available community resources if appropriate. Subsequently, this must mean that competent legal practitioning demands an ethic of care for the person as well as the legal problem. Many legal problems remain unresolved because the personal issues that are intertwined with them are not addressed. The most technically professional work, unraveled by unmet needs of the client is wasteful and inappropriate. This should be duly noted and considered, in regards to formal, recorded interviews which may be only a small part of the investigative process in a particular case and may not give a representative picture of the rest of the process; it may reveal nothing about the other experiences a witness (e.g. anxiety, trauma, PTSD) in custody may have had (Baldwin, 1993).

 

 

Both inside and outside the Bar, therapeutic jurisprudence has found a willing reception due to increasing concerns about the manner in which law and justice are practiced (Fisher & Geiselman, 2011). Moreover, it is apparent that actions taken by legal practitioners, judges and the police can create inadvertent psychological and physical health consequences towards individuals’ who have been subject to investigative interviewing (Clark, 2011). Thus, if an impact is inevitable, there should be an obligation to those we serve to know of it, seek to avoid it if negative or at least minimize it, and prevent its imposition by another. If those involved in law-making, in law-applying, and in law-related counseling begin to see themselves as therapeutic agents, they can enhance considerably the potential of law as a helping profession. Therefore, Police Officers should seek to apply an ethic of care in their practices, and a by-product would be a greater element of rapport with witnesses, which could potentially induce more clarified accounts during CI (Schma, W. in press). The public and other branches of government are looking to purveyors of the law to address certain complex social issues and problems…
not most effectively addressed by the traditional legal process. A focus on remedies is required to address these issues and problems in addition to the determination of fact and issues of law. There are principles and methods grounded in therapeutic jurisprudence…(which) advance the application of the trial court performance standards and the public trust and confidence initiative (Clark, 2010).

 

 

Conversely, It is important to note that many researchers (e.g. Fisher & Geiselman, 2010; Lindsay & Read, 1994) have consistently argued against applying the CI as a therapeutic tool in cases such as those involving “recovered memories.” However, similar arguments have been launched against non- therapeutic forensic hypnoses (see People v. Shirley, 1982). Thus, elements of the CI procedure including MIC have been found to increase the amount of inaccurate recall and also have a negative effect on witnesses’ responses to misleading questions (Sanders & Simmons, 1983; Sheenhan, Grigg, & McCann, 1984). Nevertheless, if the CI were used in a therapeutic context, any increase in fabrications remains to be documented empirically. There is no reason to believe that the CI would contribute to fabricating recollections. Empirically, it is known that recall accuracy is as high as or slightly higher with the CI than with comparison interviews (see Koehnken et al., 1999 meta- analysis). CI interviewers tend to ask mainly open-ended questions and rarely ask leading or suggestive questions, thereby minimizing the opportunities for fabrication. Finally, CI interviewers explicitly instruct witnesses not to guess but to say, “I don’t know” and to report only those events that they remember, and not merely believe to be true. Scientific literature repeatedly emphasises the important role of building rapport when interviewing witnesses and suspects (e.g. Bull & Milne, 2004; Clarke & Milne, 20010. Thus, rapport is considered one of the principles and core interviewer skills necessary for successful interviewing (Shawyer, Milne, & Bull, 2010)

 

 

Scientific literature repeatedly emphasises the important role of building rapport when interviewing witnesses and suspects (e.g. Bull & Milne, 2004; Clarke & Milne, 2001). Dengel and Rosenthal (1990) offered a conceptualisation of rapport as a construct of non-verbal prototypical components that do not fall into mutually exclusive categories: attentiveness, positivity and coordination, the relative weight of which changes according to the individual’s experience of changing levels of rapport in the development of a relationship (Vanderhallen, Vervaeke & Holmberg, 2011). Rapport is considered one of the principles and core interviewer skills necessary for successful interviewing (Shawyer, Milne, & Bull, 2010). Furthermore, rapports may ‘open doors’ and have therapeutic effects. Contrastingly, under threatening conditions, attitude responses appear automatic (Barch 1999; Chen & Bargh, 1999; Todorov & Bargh, 2002), being antitherapeutic and may even ‘shut doors’.

 

 

The proper identification of psychological vulnerabilities prior to and during police interviews is of the utmost importance in that special care can be taken by the police to strengthen the fairness and integrity of the interview process and maximize the likely reliability of suspects’ and witnesses’ account when the case goes to court (DeClude, 2005; Grisso, 2003; Gudjonsson, 2003). Systems of criminal justice are generally described as being either adversarial or inquisitorial (van Koppen & Penrod, 2003). What tends to be overlooked in this simple dichotomy is that there are adversarial and inquisitorial elements within each system (van Koppen et al. 2003). Within the adversarial system, it is Police questioning which is the most important inquisitorial element (Geiselman & Fisher, 1997). Therefore, this places the Police in a very powerful position, as it is they who create the case for the prosecution. It is argued that this leads to a prosecution bias and ultimately on occasions to miscarriages of justice (McConville, Sanders & Leng, 1991).

 

 

Moreover, power is an omnipresent force, which is dynamic and unstable, thus, knowledge and power are inextricably intertwined and easily abused both; indirectly – and directly, and also implicitly and explicitly (Juritzen, Grimen & Heggen, 2010). Therefore, there are always power relations at play, and this is even more problematic when it comes to vulnerable interviewees who may be more suggestive to confabulating or succumbing to demand characteristics (Juritzen, Grimen & Heggen, 2011). Furthermore, vulnerable individuals could have a nervous disposition, they could feel under pressure, or even inferior and intimated by individual’s of higher social status (Geiselman & Fisher, 1997). Also, individuals tend to feel less in control, losing their sense of agency in the within the structured and procedural formulations of the legal process, and also within the legal terminology that could add further provocation and anxiousness (Nield, Milne, Bull & Marlow, 2003).

 

 

Subsequently, there are discrepancies’ between empirical based studies and the more concrete findings of the efficacy if the CI in published literature according to Könken, Milne, Memon & Bull’s (1999) meta-analysis. Memon, Meissner & Fraser’s (2010)study space analysis supports the notion that there is only a small subset of studies that closely resemble real life conditions for witnesses therefore, reducing the perceived efficacy of the CI in a real life environment (Memon et al. 2010a). Also, little has been researched into whether the length of time to be interviewed from the initial event has detrimental effects for the witness recall (Zaragoza, Belli & Payment, 2007; Pezdek & Roe, 1995). Furthermore, the “outshining hypothesis” predicts that when memory cues are poor – such as after a long delay – context reinstatement is more likely to aid retrieval (Smith, 1988). Thus, the numerous studies that have looked at emotional arousal have tended to use video content to test the affects of time span from events to the CI (Memon et al. 2010a) Again, the stimulus in these types of studies lack verisimilitude and results have to be looked at with an element of dubiousness (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010). Furthermore Memon et al’s (2010a) meta-analysis revealed that events involving a crime or accident scenario produce smaller effect sizes for correct details when compared with events involving more neutral conditions, however, in both cases there were rather substantial increases in correct details with a CI relative to a control group. Importantly, there were no differences as a function of event medium i.e. live versus videotape. Moreover, the substantial benefits of CI were retained at the long delays sampled in the studies (Konken et al. 1999).

 

 

Subsequently, from a theoretical perspective it is important to note that factors such as ‘event type’ and ‘length of delay’ are expected to reduce the effectiveness of the CI as access to trace memories deplete over time and key retrieval cues are lost (Tulving & Thompson, 1973). However, despite the lack of empirical research on these memory failures, the increase of correct recall producing a large effect is still noteworthy (Memon et al, 2010a). Suffice to say, there is a strong theoretical basis drawing upon the notion that reinstatement of the original encoding context increases the accessibility of stored information (Tulving & Thomson, 1973; Memon, Meissner & Fraser, 2010). Consequently the literature on context dependent memory hints at expectations that ‘mental context reinstatement’ will help aid recall at long retention intervals (Smith, 1988). For example, the “outshining hypothesis” predicts that when memory cues are impoverished (such as after a long delay) context reinstatement is more likely to aid retrieval (Smith, 1988). Moreover, in support of this, there is evidence that children’s’ recall of an event experienced 6 months earlier benefits from the provision of context cues, for example – returning to the location of the original event twenty-four hours before an interview (Priestley, Roberts, & Pipe, 1999). Context reinstatement is particularly beneficial for younger children as highlighted in the studies of five-six year olds (Memon et al. 2010b). Thus, the relevant literature suggests a CI after a lengthy delay is likely to aid recall (Memon, et al. 2010b).

 

 

Neisser’s (1978) characterization, that the CI literature has been dominated by diplomatic, methodical and ethical research conducted in highly controlled laboratory contexts as opposed to expediently empirical studies conducted in adept ecologically valid settings which is also due to the practicalities of conducting more research based on empiricism. Moreover, most studies to date have used students and researchers as participants due in part to the sensitive nature of the research topic (Koehnken et al,1999).Perhaps what is needed now is a juxtaposed approach that bridges basic and applied research (Lane & Meissner, 2008). A good example of the middle road approach is the current research of Dando et al(2011). Alas, the study space analysis revealed that few studies have examined the performance of police officers trained in the use of CI in the field and the laboratory (Malpass, Tredoux, Schreiber Compo, McQuiston-Surrett, MacLin, Zimmerman & Topp, 2008; Memon, Meissner & Fraser, 2010). However, this has been offset somewhat by the recent efforts on the part of Dando and colleagues to develop protocols based on their experience of working with the police and to test them under controlled conditions using police officers as interviewers whenever possible (Dando et al, 2009). Consequently, one of the challenges that researchers continually face involves convincing policy makers and practitioners to adopt empirically derived methods and thereby alter their everyday practice (Memon, Meissner & Fraser, 2010). It is in addressing these real world issues that the empirical literature falls short once again (Memon, et al, 2010)

 

 

Nevertheless, due to there being more there being more numerous methodologies, variations in singularities, and myriad perspectives, there are many shortcoming which effect the conclusiveness in single studies within the sphere of the of the behavioural sciences (Konken, Milne, Memon & Bull, 1999). Therefore, producing various studies using based on complex design systems alongside many disparities based on a specific theme will create partially overlapping results in studies (Memon, et al. 2010a). Furthmore, different studies use different definitions, variables, procedures, samples and so forth (Konken et al. 1999). However, the meta-analysis concerns an analysis of analyses, and assesses methodological differences across studies. Thus, looking at the meta-analyses that have been conducted combining all the known studies, published and unpublished, which thoroughly look at the effectiveness of the cognitive interview in an attempt to ascertain the efficaciousness of the CI provides an overall look and scope across differing methodological settings (Könken, et al, 1999). Additionally, consternations about the ecological validity of single studies leave several theoretical questions about the CI remain unanswered including: when witnesses’ are subject to multiple interviews whether multiple interviews elicit new information not initially recalled, whether an initial strong memory trace is needed for effective and strong recall, whether emotional arousal has detrimental effects on recall and also, whether there are more benefits using the CI with certain age groups (Memon, et al. 2010a).

 

 

In conclusion, the Cognitive Interview has been described as one of the most exciting developments in psychology in the last ten years (Memon, 2000). Furthermore, the CI has been fundamental in shaping the prevailing approach to investigative interviewing in the UK (e.g. Clifford & Gwyer, 1999), as well as many other countries including Australia, USA, and Canada (Dando & Milne, 2009).It has also been beneficial in changing the way Police obtain information from witnesses, victims and suspects (Bull & Soukara, 2010). However, there still remains the issue of transferring theoretical elements of the CI to the practical realm (Dando et al,2010) and there are still issues of times constraints, cognitive demands and over resourceful practicalities that clash with pragmatics within The Police Force (Dando et al,2008). Consequently, future research should look at bridging the gap between laboratorial and empirical research (Neisser, 1991). Furthermore, there has been recent anecdotal that the CI has resulted in some therapeutic value to victims and witnesses of crimes (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010; Gudjonsson & Pearse, 2011). Thus, this anecdotal evidence offers positive and promising case examples of Therapeutic Jurisprudence facilitating psychological well-being and recall when using the CI (Fisher & Geiselman, 2010) It is testament that quality communication in conjunction with the continued development of the practical element of the Cognitive Interview, will not only offer more support for the interviewer, but also enhance recall and provide psychological support for the interviewee (Gudjonsson & Pearse, 2011).

 

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References

 

 

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Bain, S. A., Baxter, J. S., McAusland, J., & Davies, J. (2006). Are You Thick? A Case Study of Police Interviewing. 2nd International Conference on Investigative Interviewing, University of Portsmouth.

 

Bull, R. (2010). The investigative interviewing of children and other vulnerable witnesses: Psychological research and working/professional practice. Legal And Criminological Psychology, 15(1), 5-23. doi:10.1348/014466509X440160

 

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Bull, R., & Soukara, S. (2010). Four studies of what really happens in police interviews. In G.D. Lassiter & C.A. Meissner (Eds.), Police interrogations and false confessions (pp. 81–95). New York, NY: American Psychological Association.

 

Clarke, C., Milne, R., & Bull, R. (2011). Interviewing suspects of crime: The impact of peace training, supervision and the presence of a legal advisor. Journal Of Investigative Psychology And Offender Profiling, 8(2), 149-162. doi:10.1002/jip.144

 

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