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NCJ Number: 221412 Find in a Library
Title: Art of Investigative Interviewing: Countering the Lie of Omission
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:77  Issue:1  Dated:January 2008  Pages:10-12
Author(s): Robert C. Wells M.S.
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 3
Document: HTML
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The article discusses practices of deception encountered by investigators during investigative interviews.
Abstract: Successful interviewers learn to guard against omissions and recognize when they occur, use backward-reaching questions to close gaps of time and retrieve edited information, recognize words that indicate missing details, detect when lack of commitment occurs during the statement, and realize the importance of detail in verification of truthfulness and deceit. During an interview, guilty persons likely will practice deception by omitting information that they believe will incriminate them. Leaving out these details is a common way to mislead investigators because, technically, it is not lying; it also does not produce as much stress as telling an outright falsehood. Disciplined interviewers force suspects to provide as much information as possible about activities or blocks of time, details that guilty individuals will prefer to omit. By preventing these persons from skipping over incriminating facts or fast-forwarding through past periods of time, law enforcement personnel create initial impressions of thoroughness and proficiency. Investigators should examine each sentence in the initial narrative for indicators of missing information. When analyzing a statement, investigators also should note when subjects demonstrate a lack of commitment. Recognizing that any interruption during the subject’s response, such as significant pauses, signals a negative effect; interviewers should note areas of missing or incomplete information and address them only at the conclusion of the narrative. At the conclusion of the narrative, effective interviewers return to each area of missing information and seek out details by using carefully structured backward-reaching questions, and revisit areas that prompted significant pauses. Details obtained during the initial interview will later prove helpful when verifying the truthfulness of each statement. Learning good investigative interview skills is central to conducting effective interviews that lead to successful investigations. Notes
Main Term(s): Investigations; Personal interviews; Statement analysis
Index Term(s): Communication techniques; Interview and interrogation; Police interviewing training
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