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Evaluating the benefits of a rapport-based approach to investigative interviews: A training study with law enforcement investigators.
Law and Human Behavior  (IF3.795),  Pub Date : 2021-02-01, DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000437
Laure Brimbal,Christian A Meissner,Steven M Kleinman,Erik L Phillips,Dominick J Atkinson,Rachel E Dianiska,Jesse N Rothweiler,Simon Oleszkiewicz,Matthew S Jones

Objective: The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of a rapport-based approach to interviewing that includes productive questioning skills, conversational rapport, and relational rapport-building tactics. Hypotheses: We predicted that training police investigators in a rapport-based approach would significantly increase the use of rapport-based tactics and that such tactics would directly influence the interviewee's perceptions of rapport and indirectly lead to increased cooperation and disclosure of information. Method: We trained federal, state, and local law enforcement investigators (N = 67) in the use of evidence-based interviewing techniques. Both before and after this training, investigators interviewed semi cooperative subjects (N = 125). Interviews were coded for the use of various interview tactics, as well as subjects' disclosure. Participants also completed a questionnaire regarding their perceptions of the interviewer and their decision to cooperate with the interviewer. Results: Evaluations of the training were positive, with high ratings of learning, preparedness to use tactics, and likelihood of use following the training. In posttraining interviews, investigators significantly increased their use of evidence-based tactics, including productive questioning, conversational rapport, and relational rapport-building tactics. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that investigators' use of the evidence-based interview tactics was directly associated with increased perceptions of rapport and trust and indirectly associated with increased cooperation and information disclosure. Conclusions: We demonstrated that rapport-based interview tactics could be successfully trained and that using such tactics can facilitate perceptions of rapport and trust, reduce individuals' resistance to cooperate, and increase information yield. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).