Interviewing young adolescent suspects; When to reveal incriminating information?

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Recent research has demonstrated that the way in which interviewers reveal information/evidence to interviewees/suspects can produce noticeable differences between truthful and deceptive verbal statements. However, very little of this research has involved adolescents. In the present study, 12 to 14 year old adolescents were asked to commit (n = 26) or not to commit (n = 26) a mock crime, and at interview to deny involvement in this crime. Prior to interview some information about each adolescent’s behaviour was made available to the interviewer but this was not enough to enable determination of which had committed the crime. The interviewer revealed such information either at the beginning of the interview (the ‘traditional method’) or at the end of the interview (as pioneered by the ‘SUE’ technique) or gradually. The interviews were analysed for interviewees’ ‘evidence omissions’ and ‘statement-evidence contradictions’. As predicted, liars omitted more crime-related information/details and their statements were significantly more inconsistent with the information/evidence known to/disclosed by the interviewer. The timing of the interviewer’s evidence revelation had a significant effect on liars’ mentioning during their free recall of some of this information and on the total number of details mentioned in free recall.

The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Contentx

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Jamie Lingwood
Research Fellow

My research interests include language development, language processing, and shared book reading.