This dissertation addresses the importance of the investigator when building rapport with a witness, and whether rapport can increase witness susceptibility to suggestive-leading questions; and examines the effects of changing interviewers between rapport and retrieval as well as the effects of interviewer suggestion after rapport eyewitness memory accuracy.
The author of this dissertation addresses the importance of the investigator when building rapport with a witness and whether rapport can increase susceptibility to suggestive-leading questions. The study included a total of 198 participant witnesses, in order to examine the effects of change in interviewer between rapport and retrieval, as well as the effects of interviewer suggestion after rapport eyewitness memory accuracy. The experiment required witness participants to view a videotaped mock convenience store robbery followed by rapport-building or standard police interview about non-crime related details, to examine the effects of rapport manipulation. One week later, all participants were interviewed about the mock crime they witnessed either by the same or by a different interviewer, to examine the effects of interviewer manipulation. All witnesses were interviewed about the mock crime using open ended questions about the event, witnesses, suspect, and location, followed by a series of specific and suggestive questions containing both correct and incorrect leading information about the crime. Videotaped and transcribed witness reports were scored for accurate or false information by two independent raters. Results demonstrated that, contrary to the hypotheses, neither rapport-building manipulations on the first day, nor change in interviewer one week later, on the second day of interviews, resulted in significant effects on the primary accuracy-dependent measures on day two, including open ended and suggestive-leading questions. The author states that the null findings suggest that future research should disentangle the specific conditions under which rapport-building facilitates witness recall.
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