Psychology Department Colloquium Addresses Rapport-Bulding in Criminal Interviews

Posted on 11/3/2014 11:30:05 AM

On Friday, November 7, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Jonathan Vallano (University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg) will present “Rapport-Building in Criminal Interviews: What is it, and does it work?” in Uhler Hall, Room 111.

It is recommended that law enforcement build rapport before conducting an investigative interview. This recommendation is based upon the belief that establishing a relationship can increase the quality of information obtained from a criminal interviewee. These beliefs have recently spawned a burgeoning interest in rapport as a humane police interviewing technique, yet little empirical research has specifically examined the role and impact of rapport on investigatory outcomes.

This symposium will address these issues by reviewing the research Vallano has conducted with his colleagues on rapport-building with criminal witnesses and suspects. The first half of this symposium will address the definition and usage of rapport in an investigative setting, and the common techniques used to build rapport in the laboratory and in the field. The second half of this symposium will address whether rapport-building enhances investigative interviewing outcomes with cooperative witnesses (in the form of increased recall accuracy) and criminal suspects (in the form of more diagnostic evidentiary output, including confessions). 

The symposium will conclude with a brief discussion of the future of this research program and its implications for research and practice.

Jonathan Vallano, PhD, obtained his doctorate in experimental psychology, with a specialization in legal psychology. Most of his scholarly interests deal with issues pertaining to psychology and law, including jury decision-making, investigative interviewing, and eyewitness identification. In addition to conducting research on these issues, he often serves as a trial consultant for attorneys by helping them prepare for trial. At Pitt-Greensburg, Vallano teaches the following courses: Introduction to Psychology, Human Cognition, Social Psychology, and Research Methods.

Department of Psychology