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The use of suspect influencing behaviours in mock police interviews depending on guilt and interviewing style.

Schaik, J.F.A. van (2021) The use of suspect influencing behaviours in mock police interviews depending on guilt and interviewing style.

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Abstract:Suspect influencing behaviours are behaviours that are used by suspects in police interviews to influence the beliefs the interviewer has about them or the crime. This research looks into the suspect influencing behaviours identified by Watson et al. (2018). The goal is to see if the same behaviours can be found in an experimental setting, and how those displayed behaviours are connected to the independent variables; suspect guilt and interviewing style. Seventy-nine participants received a scenario in which they either did or did not commit a mock crime, after which they were interviewed in either an accusatory or information gathering style (2x2 between subject design). The transcripts were coded by using Watson et al.’s (2018) taxonomy and these codes were analysed in a qualitative manner by using a deductive content analysis. The code ‘information seeking’ was added by inductive coding, and it represents instances in which suspects ask for information about the evidence to be able to decide their best course of action. It was found that suspects used a wide diversity of behaviours, but that they mostly used instrumental behaviours that deal with evidence or the wish to be seen as innocent. They use relational behaviours, behaviours used to bias interviewer perceptions of people and evidence, to a far lesser extent. The most common behaviours were ‘rational persuasion’ (45% of all observed influencing behaviours) and ‘admissions’ (18.7%). When comparing this to the results found by Watson et al. (2018) it was visible that the profile of the used influencing behaviours differed greatly. We found that non-guilty suspects would mostly use ‘rational persuasion’ to convince the interviewer about their innocence, and that guilty suspects would mostly confess to stealing the wallet.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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