University of Twente Student Theses


The role of outcome knowledge in the assessment of suspect interviews

Brömmelhaus, N. (2018) The role of outcome knowledge in the assessment of suspect interviews.

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Abstract:To investigate the role that outcome knowledge plays in the assessment of suspect interviews, this online experiment was conducted. Participants were shown a real-life suspect interrogation and rated its quality on a PEACE-based questionnaire. The 156 participants were randomly divided into four conditions which differed regarding the presented outcome of the interview. This study investigated (a) to what extent people attribute the outcome of a suspect interview to the strength of evidence, the suspect himself, or the interrogator’s behavior, (b) whether the outcome (i.e. confession or not) influences people’s perception of the interview’s quality and (c) whether a potential outcome bias can be reduced by making participants aware of the bias and asking them to not take the outcome into account. Analyses showed that people overestimated the impact the interrogator has on the outcome (a), indicating a vulnerability for an outcome bias. Only very weak support was found for the presence of an outcome bias (b), which is also an explanation why awareness was not found to lower this bias (c). Although the study had some weaknesses, it gives valuable recommendations and forms the basis for further research on the rather unexplored topic of outcome bias in police interrogations.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology, 81 education, teaching, 86 law
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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