How will I know if I am learning?
By the end of the lesson…
Will be able to define the cognitive interview
Will be able to explain how the cognitive
interview (CI) works.
Will be able to use research to evaluate the
cognitive interview (CI).
Read the interview script and consider
the following questions.
1)What is good about the interview?
2)What is bad about the interview?
3)Do you think this is a cognitive
interview and why?
This is a police technique for
interviewing witnesses to a crime,
which encourages them to recreate
the original context in order to
increase the accessibility of stored
Why is it important?
effectiveness of questioning
witnesses in police interviews
Apply findings of psychological findings
to this area
Fisher and Geiselman (1992)
Reviewed memory literature – people
remember things better if they are
provided with retrieval cues.
The technique they devised had 4
Use page 36 to create a storyboard of the
different stages of a cognitive interview.
Leave space as we will be adding to it later!
Be creative as you like – use pictures as a
revision aid if you wish!
1) Get into pairs, nominate one of you to be the interviewer, and
one to be the eye witness.
2) The interviewer must use the sheet to conduct two interviews
based on the murder in the pub.
3) Ask each question as it says on the sheet.
4) You may use the voice recorder function on your mobiles to
record the interview.
Which interview elicited more (accurate) recall?
How did the witness feel when they were being interviewed?
Was there a difference? Why?
Now revisit your storyboard and add in at least 1
example question for each of the stages in the
from start to
finish in your
Wright and Holliday (2007)
and Holliday investigated how age
affects recall – the older the participant
(75-95 years old), the less complete and
less accurate the recall.
However, when they used the cognitive
interview technique, the older
participants recalled significantly greater
detail without giving any false information.
How can we use this as an evaluation point? Write a conclusion and
an PEEL paragraph underneath the study in your booklets.
Kohnken et al (1999)
- meta-analysis of 53 studies
- Found on average a 34%
increase in amount of
generated in CI
Milne and Bull (2002)
Found that when they used
a combination of “report
everything” and “mental
participants’ recall was
Most of the sample were
Still in a laboratory - artificial
Mello and Fisher (1996)
When CI and normal interview techniques
were tested on both older adults’ (72
years) and younger adults’ (22 years)
memory, CI was better for both.
But was more significantly an advantage
for the elderly.
Different police forces use different aspects of
the CI technique so it is difficult to evaluate its
The technique takes more time than is often
Techniques that limit the eyewitnesses
account to the minimum are often preferred
Demands are placed on the interviewer to
The quantity and quality of CI training is an
cognitive interviewing produces
an increase in ‘false positives’ (recall of
additional items), there is a bigger
increase in the amount of correct
information recalled compared to a
The CI is valuable in reducing miscarriages
of justice in countries where these are
likely to occur (e.g. Brazil)