Directive leading questions and preparation techniques effects on witness accuracy

Gous, Georgina and Wheatcroft, Jacqueline M. ORCID: 0000-0001-7212-1598 (2020) Directive leading questions and preparation techniques effects on witness accuracy. SAGE Open, 10 (1). pp. 1-12. doi:10.1177/2158244019899053

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Abstract

The use of leading questions during cross-examination can undermine the accuracy and completeness of evidence presented in court. Further, increasing numbers of general witnesses are arriving in court unprepared for the experience. In this study, 60 mock witnesses from England and Wales were allocated to one of three preparation conditions; a) those who received no familiarisation with the cross-examination process, b) those who received a guidance booklet on cross-examination procedures, and c) those who underwent an alternative rapport-building protocol. The participants observed a hit-and-run scenario video clip before being cross-examined with either a) non-directive leading questions or b) directive leading questions. The results showed that directive leading questioning styles were most detrimental to witness accuracy. Neither familiarisation with the types of questions typically employed during cross-examination nor the rapport-building protocol were found to be effective as a preparation strategy to increase accurate responses compared against a control group. Consideration of the impact of directive leading question styles on all witnesses in court seems necessary.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Directive Leading Questions; Non-Directive Leading Questions; Witness Preparation; Rapport-Building Protocols; Witness Confidence-Accuracy Relationships
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
K Law > KD England and Wales
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Psychological Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
Depositing User: Jacqueline Wheatcroft
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2019 14:13
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2020 13:02
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/7796

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