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The psychology of interrogative suggestibility

By Kim Elizabeth Drake


This thesis uses structural equation modelling to gain an insight into the psychological mechanism governing individual differences in interrogative suggestibility. It investigates why vulnerable interviewees tend towards a negative mindset before and during interview, which in turn appears to generate the factors that Gudjonsson and Clarke (1986) consider central in eliciting suggestible behaviour during questioning. The research considers the relationship between neuroticism (vulnerability especially) and compliance within the Five-Factor personality model, attachment anxiety and avoidance, the experience of intense negative life events and interrogative suggestibility. The key findings are that: (1) answer shifts on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (GSS) may sometimes come about through compliance and not suggestibility. Vulnerable interviewees may not always believe the negative feedback given by the interviewer and therefore not feel uncertain about their memory. Uncertainty may not necessarily be a pre-requisite for shifting on the GSS; and (2) Attachment anxiety and avoidance (as well as trait compliance with respect to answer-shifts) is related to an endogenous susceptibility to distress. These factors may be the basis of the negative mindset within vulnerable interviewees, evoking expectations of success, sometimes causing uncertainty, and inducing vulnerable behaviour. Such behaviour may manifest as false statements and confessions during interview

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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