Describe the Cognitive Interview Essay

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Describe the Cognitive Interview (10) Over the last 20 years police have worked with psychologists to develop the cognitive interview, which is designed to take account of well-known cognitive functions and avoid any chance of leading the witness. The cognitive interview is a set of instructions given by the interviewer to the witness to reinstate the context of the original event and to search through memory by using a variety of retrieval methods (Fisher et al., 1989). So why does it work? Theoretically, the CI is rooted in cognitive psychology and rests upon two principal assumptions, first that memory of an event is made up of an interconnected network and that there should therefore be several ways of getting to the same point, and second that retrieval from memory will be more effective if at the time of retrieval the context surrounding the original events can be reinstated. Remembering some aspects of experience leads, by association, to other, but the sequence cannot be predicted and may seem confused to a listener. Cognitive interviewing is designed to facilitate accurate recall through a set of instructions. There are four basic principles, according to Fisher et al. (1989). Event-interviewing similarity Memory of an event such as a crime is enhanced when the psychological environment at the interview is similar to the environment at the original event. The interviewer should therefore try to reinstate in the witness’s mind the external (e.g. weather), emotional (e.g. feelings of fear) and cognitive (e.g. relevant thoughts) features that were experienced at the time. Focussed retrieval One of the roles of the interviewer is to generate focussed concentration. There should be no interruption to the chain of thought and plenty of encouragement to try hard. Extensive retrieval Witnesses should be encouraged to make a many retrieval attempts as
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