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Memory-Enhancing Techniques for Investigative Interviewing: The Cognitive Interview

NCJ Number
R P Fisher; R E Geiselman
Date Published
231 pages
This volume provides background information and step-by-step instructions to provide a systematic approach for use by police interviewers, attorneys, fire marshals, private investigators, and others in eliciting the maximum amount of relevant information from cooperative eyewitnesses.
Based on research with police participants, the text uses the language of police investigations to explain the principles and specific techniques used in the cognitive interview. The cognitive interview reflects a multidisciplinary approach, based on research in cognitive psychology and concepts from journalism, oral history, medical interviews, psychotherapeutic interviews, and other sources. Investigative interviewers who are not police officers are advised to modify the general concepts to make them compatible with their particular investigative conditions. Individual chapters explain memory and forgetting and their effects on eyewitness recall, the interviewer's role in facilitating memory, the interactive nature of interviewing, major factors that limit eyewitness recall, techniques to overcome these limitations, where and how to conduct interviews, question formats, and the sequential structure of an interview. Sample interviews with analysis and a training procedure to learn the cognitive interview are also presented. Chapter summaries, footnotes, subject and author indexes, appended summary outline and background information, and 142 references