Interview and Interrogation Techniques

Where were you yesterday at 3:45pm? Don’t lie we have your finger prints. Why did you commit this crime?

Does this line of questioning sound intimidating?  The Daily Beast has some enlightening news. 

Research was conducted at John Jay College of Criminal Justice through the FBI’s High Value Detainee Interrogation Group. A team of leading researchers formed to find out better methods for getting high-level suspects to reveal what they know.  They have uncovered some interesting insights.

Ali Soufan, a former FBI Agent stated,24 [a popular TV show] works in Hollywood.  Reality is not that sexy.  You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Being an effective communicator, in addition to understanding and recognizing  the emotional states of other people is extremely beneficial in building rapport, which is necessary to elicit truthful information.  Scientific peer reviewed research has shown that knowing how to detect, label and react appropriately to certain emotions builds rapport.

“Torture does not work, it is illegal, and the professional intelligence, military, and law-enforcement officers who know what they are talking about, and who have firsthand experience, have been explicit that enhanced interrogation techniques undermine operational success,” says Glenn Carle, a former CIA officer.

So what are the best ways to elicit truthful information?

According to the article and many interrogators it involves understanding a subject’s culture and motivation and then gaining his or her trust—without revealing what you’re after.

Recent research backs up the idea the torture techniques are not truly effective by indicating that stress-inducing measures actually impairs memory.  Research has also proven that non-coercive interview techniques based on rapport building are the most effective in eliciting truthful information.

Dr. David Matsumoto’s new book Nonverbal Communication:  Science and Applications blends cutting-edge behavioral science with real-world practical experience, making this text the first of its kind to merge theoretical and practical worlds of nonverbal communication.

 What are your thoughts on controversial questioning techniques?

One Response to “Interview and Interrogation Techniques”

  1. michael fried says:

    I agree that torture certainly does not work, as studies prove. While in law enforcement I saw how truly good investigators work, and the “flies with honey” analogy did/does seem to work best. I have not read the above book but will certainly take a look…

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