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Police officers' perspective of making a communication error in a suspect interview

Jansen, R.P. (2017) Police officers' perspective of making a communication error in a suspect interview.

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Abstract:Communication is considered the key feature in suspect interviews. To date, studies have investigate in finding ways how to use communication in suspect interviews, although less attention is given to what happens when communication fails. Therefore, we examined police officers’ perspective of the making of a communication error in suspect interviews. We assessed which psychological and behavioural consequences police officers experienced after the making of an error, which repair strategy they used to repair the error, how they estimated the suspect’s affective, cognitive and relational perceptions, and what influence the suspect’s stance after the error had. Police officers (N = 68) were asked to conduct a suspect interview role-play, in which the role of the suspect was played by a confederate of the researchers. The police officers were randomly assigned to a condition in a 2 (communication error: factual vs. judgment) x 2 (suspect’s stance: cooperative vs. non-cooperative) between subject design or a control group in which no error was included. During the role-play their psychophysiological arousal level was measured using an EDA-wristband. Our findings demonstrate that police officers show significantly more perceived stress (not supported by their psychophysiological arousal level) and that they get more distracted after the making of a communication error in comparison to police officers that made no error. Specifically, after the making of a factual error, police officers experience also more guilt and shame. Additionally, we found that police officers who made a communication error estimated the suspect’s view on rapport between the suspect and themselves lower compared to police officers who made no error. Specifically after the making of a factual error, police officers also estimated the suspect’s level of affective- and cognitive trust in them lower. Furthermore, when dealing with a non-cooperative suspect after the making of a communication error, police officers thought that the suspect’s level of affective trust in them and the suspect’s view on rapport were lower than when dealing with a cooperative suspect. Surprisingly, police officers’ self-oriented anger was higher when dealing with a cooperative suspect, compared to dealing with a non-cooperative suspect.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/73982
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