Sigma Xi Science Cafe Monday, Jan. 11…’What do you think you know about police interrogation?’

UNK Chapter of Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society

Presents a Science Café

Monday, January 11, 2010

5 PM

Thunderhead Brewery (second floor)

18 East 21st Street

What do you think you know about police interrogation?

Evaluating interrogation prototypes for content, source and age differences

Dr. Krista Forrest, Psychology

University of Nebraska at Kearney


Individual factors contributing to suspect behavior during interrogation include personality characteristics, low levels of intelligence, age, mental illness, substance abuse, and suspect innocence. Despite an increasing literature addressing individual factors, we know little about the effects of a suspect’s expectations for and knowledge of interrogation processes. First, however, we need to address whether common themes or prototypes for interrogation exist.

As a result, we asked the following questions in our work: First, do individuals have common responses when asked to imagine a typical police interrogation, and do these prototypes vary as a function of experience with the law? Second, do interrogation prototypes vary with age? Third, do individuals have different prototypes for the processes of arrest and interrogation or do they see these as the same. Knowing the answer to this question will allow us further educate the public, thereby preparing them for possible police questioning and even jury duty.