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Minimizing Interrogative Suggestibility

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume: 5 Issue: 2 Dated: September 2000 Pages: 273-284
Julian C. W. Boon; James S. Baxter
Date Published
September 2000
12 pages
This study examines ways to limit misinformation in questions put to witnesses.
Use of warnings about the possible presence of misinformation in questions put to witnesses can reduce the extent to which such misinformation is incorporated in witnesses' recall. Previous studies of this phenomenon, known as "interrogative suggestibility", have not attempted to establish the degree to which it can be reduced in this way. This study used the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale 2 (GSS-2) in an attempt to make this relative judgment, based on population norms established for the scale. Participants were assigned to one of three groups: (1) A "Warned Group" underwent the GSS-2 without negative feedback but also with a warning concerning the possible presence of misinformation in questions; (2) A "Neutral Group" underwent a variant of the GSS-2 in which negative feedback was not administered; and (3) A "Standard Group" underwent the normal GSS-2 procedure. The study confirmed the hypothesized pattern of results: that the provision of a warning would enhance the ability of participants to resist information without completely eliminating its acceptance. Tables, references


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