Strategic Sequences in Police Interviews and the Importance of Order and Cultural Fit


Beune, Karlijn and Giebels, Ellen and Adair, Wendi L. and Fennis, Bob M. and Zee, Karin I. van der (2011) Strategic Sequences in Police Interviews and the Importance of Order and Cultural Fit. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 38 (9). pp. 934-954. ISSN 0093-8548

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Abstract:This study introduces the concept of strategic sequences to police interviews and concentrates on the impact of active listening behavior and rational arguments. To test the authors’ central assumption that the effectiveness of strategic sequences is dependent on cultural fit (i.e., the match with the cultural background of suspects), young people participated in virtual police interviews. Study 1 demonstrated that contrast sequences accentuating rational rather than relational behavior were found to be effective in eliciting information and admissions from suspects originating from cultures that tend to use more direct and content-oriented communication (i.e., low-context cultures), whereas for suspects from cultures that use more indirect and context-oriented communication (i.e., high-context cultures) a nonsignificant trend in reversed order was found. Study 2 added the investigation of the joint impact of active listening and rational arguments. In line with predictions, the results showed that an active listening—rational arguments sequence is most effective when active listening behavior precedes— rather than follows—rational arguments.

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