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Journal Articles The Journal of Forensic Practice Year : 2017

Capturing the scene: Efficacy test of the re-enactment investigative instruction

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Céline Launay
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1016482
Jacques Py

Abstract

Purpose – As eyewitnesses provide the most valuable information for criminal investigations, it is important to further develop and test techniques for collecting eyewitness testimony so that they meet the major objective of a police interview: obtaining details pertaining to criminal actions. The purpose of this paper is to test a new instruction – the re-enactment investigative instruction – formulated to collect the most fine-grained details of a criminal event as accurately as possible. It leads the interviewee to decompose all directly recollected actions into the most minimal actions so that the event can be accurately re-enacted. Design/methodology/approach – In all, 40 participants individually viewed a video depicting a robbery, were randomly assigned to a re-enactment or structured interview (SI) group and then interviewed face-to-face. Each interview was comprised of two free recall phases and a questioning phase. Manipulation of the re-enactment instruction took place in the second free recall phase of the re-enactment interviews (RIs). Findings – The RI elicited more correct information compared to the SI (d¼1.14), and slightly but not significantly less incorrect information (d¼0.09). Participants in the RI condition reported significantly more details pertaining to general and specific actions. Practical implications – The re-enactment instruction shows the potential to increase witness recall in a way that promotes recall of both additional correct information and investigative-relevant information. Originality/value – The instruction provides witnesses a retrieval strategy that facilitates overcoming both the gap between memory availability and accessibility and the gap between memory availability and output regulation, eliciting more details with no significant increase of errors.
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Dates and versions

hal-01588571 , version 1 (15-09-2017)

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Céline Launay, Jacques Py. Capturing the scene: Efficacy test of the re-enactment investigative instruction. The Journal of Forensic Practice, 2017, 19, pp.174-189. ⟨10.1108/JFP-02-2015-0012⟩. ⟨hal-01588571⟩
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