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At our recent Investigation & Audit Services conference, we learned how to conduct a better investigation, but what is the most effective way to interview? Luckily to all those who attended, one of our very own resolution consultants took the time to present one of the very latest investigative techniques. Tribunals that end badly are oftentimes due to poor interviewing skills, leading to a desired outcome. In the US, for instance, the Reid technique is popular in interrogations: it elicits confessions from those who are prejudged to be guilty, using psychological manipulation, trickery, and deceit to extract obtain false confessions.
“Presumption of innocence is a natural human right.”
The Cognitive Interviewing TechniqueDominic Human, Director at Human HR Services, advocates for cognitive interviewing, a technique designed to trigger live recollection and associated emotional responses. In biological terms, memory is a reconstructive process that is susceptible to distortion. This has severe consequences in the courtroom, as prosecutors misconceive memory to be more veridical than it actually is. Cognitive interviewing takes the witness back to the event, requiring a lot of time and space, to bridge those memory gaps. This process can be broken down into four stages:
- Mental reinstatement of environmental and personal contexts
- In-depth reporting
- Describing the event in several orders
- Reporting the event from different perspectives
- At the widest point is the story: background, narrative, facts, feelings, perceptions etc.
- In the middle are the key issues: incidents, themes, behaviours, examples etc.
- The smallest and most important part of the “funnel” lines in the details: times, dates, specifics, elaboration – who, what, when, where, how etc.