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Interviewing young adolescent suspects: When to reveal incriminating information?

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Author(s): Jamie Lingwood | Ray Bull

Journal: European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context
ISSN 1889-1861

Volume: 5;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 141;
Date: 2013;

Keywords: Interviewing | Suspects | Adolescents | Information | Revelation

ABSTRACT
Recent research has demonstrated that the way in which interviewers reveal information/evidence tointerviewees/suspects can produce noticeable differences between truthful and deceptive verbalstatements. However, very little of this research has involved adolescents. In the present study, 12 to 14year old adolescents were asked to commit (n = 26) or not to commit (n = 26) a mock crime and atinterview to deny involvement in this crime. Prior to interview some information about each adolescent’sbehaviour was made available to the interviewer but this was not enough to enable determination ofwhether he or she had committed the crime. The interviewer revealed such information either at thebeginning of the interview (the ‘traditional method’), at the end of the interview (as pioneered by the ‘SUE’technique), or gradually. The interviews were analysed for interviewees’ ‘evidence omissions’ and‘statement-evidence contradictions’. As predicted, liars omitted more crime-related information/detailsand their statements were significantly more inconsistent with the information/evidence known to/disclosed by the interviewer. The timing of the interviewer’s evidence revelation had a significant effect onliars’ mentioning during their free recall of some of this information and on the total number of detailsmentioned in free recall.
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