Unlocking Memories: Cognitive Interviewing for Lawyers

Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Forthcoming

8 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2016 Last revised: 16 May 2016

See all articles by Jason Chin

Jason Chin

Sydney Law School

Vanja Ginic

Dentons Canada LLP

Date Written: March 1, 2016


Litigators seeking to improve their interviewing skills may have noticed a recent addition to the market, a book titled Unlocking Memories: Cognitive Interviewing for Lawyers. Written by former English police officer Geoff Coughlin, it’s marketed as a way to “elicit up to 40% more information from your witness interviews” in a manner that is both accurate and efficient. Unlocking Memories falls short in many respects. The book’s organization is disjointed. It jumps from topic to topic rather than provide a step-by-step guide. The poor organization results from the book, despite its name, spending little time and attention on the actual cognitive interviewing part. Instead, Coughlin takes many divergences: some are helpful (a handy note-taking method), but others are factually inaccurate (a discredited technique for inferring mental states from eye movements).

Keywords: Law, psychology, interviewing, cognitive interview, pseudoscience, NLP

Suggested Citation

Chin, Jason and Ginic, Vanja, Unlocking Memories: Cognitive Interviewing for Lawyers (March 1, 2016). Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2740674

Jason Chin (Contact Author)

Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

Vanja Ginic

Dentons Canada LLP ( email )

1 Place Ville Marie
Montreal, Québec H3B 4M7

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