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The issue of suggestibility in witness interviewing : graduation thesis
Tjaša Petek, 2014, undergraduate thesis

Abstract: The interviewing of witnesses, victims and suspects normally forms an essential part of a police investigation into criminal activities. There are various factors that affect accuracy in the eyewitness testimonies, one of which are suggestive interviewing techniques (Williamson, 2007). Suggestibility is a personality trait which is often referred to as a type of psychological vulnerability. Suggestibility can challenge the interviewee’s abilities to cope with the demands of the interview as well as the demands of following court procedures. It is due to these characteristics that suggestibility has an important impact on the outcome of the interview (Gudjonsson, 2010). As shown through the work of Ridley and Gudjonsson (2013), there are several varieties of suggestibility and the effects of suggestive influence should be taken extremely seriously during investigations. Our memories can be influenced and distorted in various ways because they are vulnerable and susceptible to decay, inner biases, social demands and expectations, leading questions, misleading information, conformity and mental disability. To support this, Bruck and Melnyk (2004) indicate that individual differences in the susceptibility to suggestibility make it harder to identify exactly where and when the effects of suggestibility are likely to manifest themselves. Reliable information about the types of people who are most likely to be tainted by suggestive interviewing has not been established yet and remains a subject for further research.
Keywords: suggestibility, witness interviews, criminal investigation, individual differences
Published: 06.11.2014; Views: 753; Downloads: 83
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