University of Twente Student Theses


Eliciting Crime-Relevant Information from Suspects: Exploring Approaches of Strategic Evidence Disclosure when Interviewing Guilty Suspects

Buiter, Leon D. (2019) Eliciting Crime-Relevant Information from Suspects: Exploring Approaches of Strategic Evidence Disclosure when Interviewing Guilty Suspects.

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Abstract:This study is about how to influence guilty suspects to reveal new crime-relevant information via interviewing. During investigative interviews, suspects might use strategies to appear innocent. To counteract such strategies, evidence that the interviewer holds on the suspect’s activities, can be disclosed strategically throughout the interview. Past research mainly focused on detecting deception. However, to form conclusions about guilt or innocence, admissions from suspects are necessary. In this study, all participants (N = 50) performed a mock crime consisting of several activities that generated pieces of evidence regarding their activities. Hence, all suspects were guilty. Contrary to previous studies, the state of evidence was more complex as it did not reveal all legal activities that suspects engaged in prior to and after the crime (i.e., details about suspects’ activities also needed to be clarified during the interview). Thereafter, suspects were interviewed with either of two techniques. One group was interviewed with the Shift-of-Strategy (SoS) technique, whereby evidence is disclosed after each crime-relevant question that is asked. This aims to make the suspect overestimate the knowledge of the interviewer. To cope with that, the suspect might change his/her strategy from withholding information to providing information. A new manipulation was added to the SoS technique at the end of the interview. Instead of asking one critical question about the crime, the suspect was asked three questions. This aimed to utilize the moment at which the suspect started to overestimate the interviewer’s knowledge, so that the suspect would provide more information which the interviewer did not know before. The second group was interviewed using the late disclosure technique. Within late disclosure, all the pieces of evidence are disclosed at once, after all crime-relevant questions have been asked. The SoS condition resulted in significantly more admissions and elicited significantly more new crime-relevant information compared to the late disclosure condition. The manipulation that was added to the SoS technique (i.e., the three questions) was partially shown to be effective in eliciting more admissions. Furthermore, the manipulation generated valuable implications for the future of the SoS approach. This study provides strong support for the SoS technique as an effective approach to elicit new crime-relevant information. Keywords: Strategic Use of Evidence, Shift-of-Strategy, new crime-relevant information, admission, late disclosure
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology, 86 law
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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