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Interrogative pressure and responses to minimally-leading questions

Baxter, James S. and Boon, Julian C.W. and Marley, Charles (2005) Interrogative pressure and responses to minimally-leading questions. Personality and Individual Differences, 40 (1). pp. 87-98. ISSN 0191-8869

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A firm rather than a friendly interviewer demeanour may make interviewees more likely to alter their initial responses to questions during requestioning. Conversely, warnings that an interviewer may attempt to be misleading may lower interviewees' trust, heightening their vigilance and accuracy. Participants were tested under one of four conditions: 'Friendly' or 'Firm' interviewer demeanour, with or without warnings to be vigilant under questioning. The Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale 2 (GSS 2) was adapted to include only questions which were not overtly leading, based on each scale's narrative. The standard GSS 'Shift', 'Memory Recall', and 'Total Confabulation' scores were calculated for each condition. Interviewees were most likely to alter their initial answers to questions when the interviewer adopted a Firm demeanour, without a warning to be vigilant. These findings support the predictions of the Gudjonsson and Clark (1986) model of interrogative suggestibility which relate to the effects of interrogative pressure.