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Interviewer behaviour, interviewee self-esteem and response change in simulated forensic interviews

McGroarty, Allan and Baxter, James S. (2009) Interviewer behaviour, interviewee self-esteem and response change in simulated forensic interviews. Personality and Individual Differences, 47 (6). pp. 642-646. ISSN 0191-8869

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The effects of interviewer behaviour and interviewee self-esteem on response change were investigated in a simulated forensic interview. In line with Gudjonsson and Clark's (1986) model of interrogative suggestibility, it was hypothesised that increased rates of response change would be associated with an unsupportive, disapproving interviewer manner and low levels of self-esteem. Following presentation of a video taped event, low and high self-esteem participants (N = 83) were interviewed by a male interviewer portraying either a Friendly or Abrupt manner. Participants in the Abrupt conditions made significantly more response changes in response to negative feedback than those in the Friendly conditions. Contrary to previous studies, level of self-esteem did not influence this measure nor did it interact with interviewer behaviour. However, low self-esteem participants rated the interview as significantly more difficult than did high self-esteem participants. The results support some previous work and indicate that negative feedback affects response change even when questions are not overtly leading.