This book is about how to talk with people. It is applicable to a wide variety of contexts - law enforcement suspect, victim and witness interviews and interrogations, intelligence interrogations, interviews or debriefs, and industry (e.g., litigation, insurance fraud, human resources).
The first six chapters follow the course of an interview, beginning with planning and analysis (Chapter 2), impression management and brands (Chapter 3), developing and maintaining rapport (Chapter 4), showing active listening (Chapter 5), eliciting a detailed narrative (Chapter 6), and good questioning tactics (Chapter 7). Chapter 8 describes how to create cooperation between the interviewer and the subject, and what to do in instances where the subject is less than cooperative. Chapter 9 provides methods of assessing whether the subject's story is likely to be true. Each of these chapters are followed by a set of exercises. The subsequent chapters provide information on topics that we have been asked about in classes we have taught: what are the characteristics of good interviewers (Chapter 10), why do people confess (or not) (Chapter 11), how does memory work (Chapter 12), and what are the likely impacts of personality (Chapter 13), mental health disorders (Chapter 14), and drugs and alcohol (Chapter 15) on interview outcomes? Chapter 16 provides a brief overview of the polygraph. Chapters 17 and 18 offer brief histories of interrogations in the U.S. and the U.K., respectively.
We provide references to the underlying science not only because we want only to promote methods that have been shown to be effective, but because we believe that if an interviewer understands why certain tactics and methods work, he or she can be more creative in their application to the peculiar challenges they face.
The strong premise of this book is that people are more likely to share information - that may be embarrassing or damaging to themselves and/or others - if the interviewer treats the person with respect and humanity. The science shows that rapport-based interviews are more effective for eliciting accurate information and are less prone to elicitation of false information. This book also proposes that the goal of an interview, in any of the contexts described above, should be information gain, rather than a confession or admission of guilt. A rapport-based, information-gathering approach increases the likelihood of identifying those with relevant information or guilty knowledge, protects the innocent, and facilitates a sense of procedural justice.