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Facilitating disclosure in intelligence interviews: The joint influence of helpfulness priming and interpersonal approach

Journal article
Authors David Amon Neequaye
Karl Ask
Pär-Anders Granhag
Aldert Vrij
Published in Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Volume 15
Issue 3
Pages 319-334
ISSN 1544-4759
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 319-334
Language en
Keywords disclosure, helpfulness, intelligence interviewing, interpersonal approach, priming
Subject categories Applied Psychology, Psychology


This study examined the joint influence of helpfulness priming and a helpfulness‐focused interpersonal approach on information disclosure in an intelligence interview. We based the research on the theoretical proposition that consistency between an interviewee's primed dispositions and an interviewer's interpersonal approach would facilitate disclosure. Participants (N = 116) took on the role of an informant with information about an upcoming terror attack. Afterwards, an interviewer solicited information about the attack using an interpersonal approach that exhibited either high (helpfulness‐ focused) or low (control) fit with helpfulness concerns. Prior to the interview, in a seemingly unrelated experiment, we primed participants' helpfulness motivation and assessed their cognitive accessibility to helpfulness‐related constructs. We observed that helpfulness priming increased information disclosure when the helpfulness‐focused interpersonal approach was used but not when the control protocol was used. This research suggests that implementation of an interpersonal approach that complements an interviewee's primed dispositions may function symbiotically with the previous priming to facilitate information disclosure.

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