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Streamlining Disclosure in Investigative Interviewing: The Joint Influence of Priming and Motivational Interviewing

Conference contribution
Authors David Amon Neequaye
Karl Ask
Pär-Anders Granhag
Aldert Vrij
Published in European Association of Psychology and Law 2017
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords construct accessibility, motivational interviewing, priming
Subject categories Psychology


Motivating an interviewee to disclose information willingly has become important in the wake of failures of coercive interrogation tactics. Burgeoning research indicates that priming disclosure-related concepts leads interviewees to volunteer information. In this work, we examine current applications of priming in investigative interviewing within the wider context of the ongoing debate about the reliability of priming effects. The current debate has engendered theoretical perspectives that suggest that priming effects result from interplay between construct accessibility and situational affordances. We present data, from five experiments, that lend some support to the notion that increased prime construct accessibility and suitable situational affordances give rise to assimilative priming effects. Drawing on these evidences, we offer recommendations for researchers and practitioners. We propose that, in addition to tactics that stimulate disclosure, interviewers must create suitable situational affordances in order to harness the benefits of priming fully. We follow our proposal up with a discussion of data from a study that examines prime-consistent motivational interviewing (vs. direct interviewing), as a potential conduit that streamlines disclosure in a human intelligence interview. Finally, practical and ethical implications of priming in investigative interviewing are discussed.

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