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The cognitive interview: Effects on the realism in witnesses confidence in their free recall

Conference paper
Authors Carl Martin Allwood
Karl Ask
Pär-Anders Granhag
Published in Paper presented at the 1st meeting of the Nordic Network for research on Psychology and Law (NNPL), Oslo, Norway.
Publication year 2004
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords Calibration, cognitive interview, confidence-accuracy relation, realism in confidence, structured interview
Subject categories Social Sciences


Using calibration methodology, this study compared the realism of witnesses’ confidence judgments of their own recall elicited in either the Cognitive Interview (CI) or the Structured Interview (SI). Participants were interviewed about their observations of a staged crime and returned two weeks later to assess their confidence in the statements. The CI, as in previous research, rendered a significantly higher number of correct recalled units compared with the SI. In both interview conditions the witnesses displayed a high level of accuracy and confidence, very good calibration, and very low overconfidence. No difference was found between the CI and SI in terms of calibration, under/overconfidence, or with respect to the witnesses’ estimations of the total number of correctly recalled items. It is suggested that the high realism found in these measures is due to the witnesses assessing their confidence in items they themselves had chosen to report.

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