Forensic Interviewers' Difficulty with Invitations: Faux Invitations and Negative Recasting

46 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2019

See all articles by Hayden Henderson

Hayden Henderson

USC Gould School of Law

Natalie Russo

USC Gould School of Law

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Date Written: December 2, 2019

Abstract

An ongoing challenge for forensic interviewers is to maximize their use of invitations, such as requests that the child “tell me more about” details mentioned by the child. Examining 434 interviews with 4- to 12-year-old children questioned about abuse, this study analyzed (1) faux invitations, in which interviewers prefaced questions with “tell me” but then asked a non-invitation, (2) negative recasts, in which interviewers started to ask an invitation but then recast the question as a wh- or option-posing question and (3) other aspects of questions that may relate to productivity independent of their status as invitations. About one fourth of “tell me” questions were faux invitations and over 80% of recasts were negative. The frequency of both faux invitations and negative recasts increased during the substantive phase of the interviews, and these were related to decreased productivity, increased non-responsiveness, and increased uncertainty. In contrast, use of exhaustive terms (e.g., “tell me everything”) and non-static questions (e.g., about actions) were related to increased productivity. The results suggest that training should teach interviewers when and how strategic use of invitations and other question-types can elicit specific types of forensically relevant information.

Suggested Citation

Henderson, Hayden and Russo, Natalie and Lyon, Thomas D., Forensic Interviewers' Difficulty with Invitations: Faux Invitations and Negative Recasting (December 2, 2019). Forthcoming, Child Maltreatment; USC CLASS Research Paper No. CLASS19-34; USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 19-34. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3497102 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3497102

Hayden Henderson (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Natalie Russo

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-0142 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

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