Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology

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Forensic psychology

Week 4: Interviewing witnesses


Start this week by watching the weekly video with Graham and Catriona.

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_psychology_vid_1010.mp4
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Welcome to week 4. We're now nearly halfway through and so far we've learnt about inattentional blindness, the limits of our memories and we're started thinking about the investigation.
This week we get to see how the police use interviews to obtain evidence from eyewitnesses.
We'll hear DI Bullet and DS Sund, as they conduct the formal interviews of their witnesses. The information gathered in these interviews is crucial to the case, but it's useful to examine what questions they will ask, and how effective they will be at gathering useful and accurate information.
The way in which a question is asked, not only can determine what the answer will be, it can actually affect the memory of the person answering it. We will explore how psychology has helped develop investigative interviewing techniques that are designed to make the most of eyewitness memory.
We will also look at the importance of thinking back to the place you are trying to remember and we'll hear about The Cognitive Interview. This is a procedure for interviewing an eyewitness that maximises accurate recall whilst limiting the damage that can be done to our memories by asking leading or suggestive questions.
DS Sund is a skilled interviewer, trained in the techniques of the Cognitive Interview. DI Bullet has honed his investigative skills throughout his long career and takes great pride in being able to build a watertight case.
Whose interviews will lead in the right direction?
It is up to you to evaluate the evidence gathered and try to determine what is fact and what might be fiction.
Have a good week.
End transcript
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In the previous weeks we looked at how memory works, the types of errors people make when recalling an event and also the effect that different types of questions can have on memory. This week you will get a chance to apply this knowledge when you listen to and evaluate the interviews that DI Bullet and DS Sund conducted with the two witnesses, Lila and Seth.

You will also discover techniques that can help a witness recall more of the crime and learn about the cognitive interview, which is a way of interviewing based on the results of psychological research, and a technique used by many police forces around the world.


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