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