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Outline and Evaluate The Cognitive Interview

Outline and Evaluate The Cognitive Interview BY 997 Outline and Evaluate The Cognitive Interview (12 marks) The cognitive interview was created by Fisher and Gieselman in 1992, the cognitive interview is a technique which aims to bring out more accurate information from eye witnesses. It consists of four stages; the interviewee is asked to mentally recreate the environment from the original incident including weather conditions and their feelings. The interviewee is asked to report every single detail of the incident even if it may seem irrelevant.

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Theyre asked to recall the incident in reverse order, this is to top them relying on their schemas when recalling. Then this is where they are asked to imagine they were somewhere else or someone else recalling based on their point of view. There are a number of studies that demonstrate the positive effectiveness of the cognitive interview; kohnken conducted a meta-analysis of 53 studies and found a 34% increase in correct recall using the cognitive interview process instead of the usual procedure.

This was supported by Geiselman et al who conducted a study to see the effectiveness of the cognitive interview compared to traditional interview technique. Footage of violent crimes were shown to students who two days later were either asked to recall using the standard interview or the cognitive interview. The students remembered more detail when the cognitive interview was used compared to the standard interview.

This study demonstrates that the Cognitive Interview technique is more effective than the normal interview procedures for retrieving accurate testimonies. Geiselman’s studies were lab experiments therefore they lack external validity as the participants are not as emotionally aroused as they would be in real life and the videos do not represent real life situations.


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