Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Social influence in investigative interviews: The effects of authority on informational elements produced in interviews and written statements


This study examined the effect of a principle of social influence—authority—on the informational elements in an investigative interview. Community participants told the truth or lied about a mock crime in a high or low authority context. Informational elements were coded from their oral responses in the interviews and written responses in a statement prior to the interviews. Rapport was rated by the interviewers and participants. The authority condition produced effects on the informational elements in both the interviews and written statements but mainly for truth tellers. Rapport also had direct effects on the informational elements but authority did not affect rapport and rapport did not mediate the effect of authority on the informational elements. These findings had theoretical, empirical, and practical implications.

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