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The relative influence of leading questions and negative feedback on response change on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (2) : implications for forensic interviewing

Baxter, James and Charles, Kathy and Martin, Michelle and McGroarty, Allan (2012) The relative influence of leading questions and negative feedback on response change on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (2) : implications for forensic interviewing. Psychology Crime and Law, 19 (3). pp. 277-285. ISSN 1068-316X

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Abstract

The ‘Shift’ or response change measure of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales (GSS 1 &2) is assumed primarily to indicate acceptance of the negative feedback component of the GSS procedure. Using an adapted version of the question set which bears on the GSS 2 narrative, this study systematically varied the pressurising influences of the GSS 2 specifically to test this assumption. In four conditions, negative and neutral feedback were administered either with leading or non-leading questions. Varying type of feedback to participants resulted in significant differences in Shift scores. In line with the theorised bases of the scales, the leading questions component of the GSS was found to have no significant independent effect on Shift and to be no more effective that non-leading questions in influencing this measure. The study also lent support to two previous studies which have shown that negative feedback in the absence of leading questions alters average response change to a reliable degree (10%), suggesting a useful norm for adapted versions of the GSS procedure. It is argued that the influence of feedback on response change in interviews merits more attention from researchers than it has previously received.