Questioning Witnesses

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  1. What are the different question taboos?
    • Kebbell & Johnson (2000)
    • Complex Negatives: 'Did the woman have black hair?' (simplified to 'did the woman have black hair?') - 30% less accurate than simplified
    • Complex double negatives: 'Is it not true to say that the woman wasn't wearing dark trousers?'- 30% less accurate
    • Leading questions: 'The attack happened in the park, didn't it?'- >10% less 
    • Complex vocabulary: 'Did the female flee from the perpetrator?'- 4% less
    • Complex syntax: 'Would it be correct to assume that the woman wearing a coat in the incident's shoe fell off?' 3% less
    • Multipart question: 'Was it raining, did you hear thunder?'- 47% less
  2. Does confidence mean accuracy?
    • Maybe- Cutler et al (1987)
    • Weak correlation between identification accuracy and confidence 
    • Confidence level is significantly higher for correct choosers 

    • Kebell, Evans & Johnson (2010)
    • Complex or simple questions posed by lawyers
    • More confident in correct answers in simplified questions 
    • More confident in incorrect ones for complex questions
  3. What must be considered when interviewing witnesses with learning difficulties?
    • More vulnerable to different question types as they have more cognitive limitations (complex questions) and more social desirability bias (leading questions)
    • Less complete answers but no less accurate: Kebbell and Hatton (1999)
    • 16 cases with and 16 without learning difficulties analysed 
    • Lawyers did not adapt questioning style for people with learning difficulties, very few differences in question types 
    • Used strategies to discredit witnesses in cross examination despite learning difficulties using yes/no leading questions 
    • More supportive and friendly but not completely effective at maximising accuracy and completeness
  4. How do extraneous factors affect judgments?
    • Danzinger et al (2011)
    • Israeli parole hearings analysed 
    • Rulings require executive functions and are cognitively fatiguing 
    • Positive rulings examined 
    • Dropped from 65% to nearly 0% then back up to 65% after a break
Card Set:
Questioning Witnesses
2015-04-07 21:43:23
Psychology Criminology
Psychology,Forensic Psychology
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