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Progress of the programme


COMPLETED PHD RESEARCH

- Proving claims of asylum seekers: measuring knowledge of people and places (T. van Veldhuizen).
This research concerns credibility assessment in the European asylum procedure. The central research question focuses on how best immigration services can assess whether asylum seekers are veracious about their identity, origin, and past experiences when other evidence for their claims is lacking. The main focus is on methods of questioning and the possibilities and limitations of human memory.

- Regulating and reporting in eyewitness memory: Failing to retrieve or failing to report? (A. Clark)
This research is concerned with the consequences of non-believed memories, and their relationship with memory omissions, testing the hypothesis that undermining people’s belief will result in them developing a non-believed memory (which will be withheld in subsequent memory tests). This research will further our understanding of eyewitness memory.

- Social influences on the Metacognitive Regulation of Eyewitness Memory Reports (J. Rechdan)
This research seeks to explain the effects of social influence manipulations on metacognitive monitoring and control processes in eyewitness reports through the Revised Dual Criterion Model (Ackerman & Goldsmith, 2008), examining potential changes in the amount and degree of detail provided by eyewitnesses, as well as their reported level of confidence in their recollections, as influenced by social comparison, conformity, and the introduction of misinformation by social means.

- Are children really the poorer eyewitnesses? An analysis of counter intuitive developmental
trends in eyewitness identifications, memory and suggestibility (N. Brackmann)
Many professionals believe that children’s eyewitness accounts are inferior to statements made by adults. This research project challenges these sometimes unfounded assumptions by looking at memory processes that may undergo a counter intuitive developmental trend. Under forensically relevant conditions, children can provide accurate and exhaustive memory reports and sometimes children might be even less prone to memory distortions and erroneous witness reports than adults.

- Tactical aspects of the SUE technique: The effect of tactical disclosure of evidence on suspects’
counter interrogation strategies (S. Tekin)
This research focuses on suspects’ counter-interrogation strategies as one of the factors that determine the amount of information they disclose in an interview. By using the Strategic Use of Evidence (SUE) technique, we aim to examine to what extent it is possible to alter liars’ strategies (from a less to a more forthcoming strategy) and elicit new information.

- Eyewitness identification in the case of multiple perpetrator crimes (N. Tupper)
Despite the fact that a large number of violent crimes are committed by multiple perpetrators, and that the rising rate of those crimes is a global phenomenon, little is known about eyewitness identification in the context of multiple perpetrator crimes. This research examines the memory and decision processes of eyewitnesses making multiple identifications, as well as perceptions and practices of officials that administer such identifications.

- Separating genuine threats from bluffs (R. Geurts)
This research examines i) whether ‘bluffers’ and genuine ‘threateners’ avail of different cognitive processes when thinking or speaking about their threat and ii) whether these differences can be elicited during interviews with those who make threats.

- In(Consistencies) as a cue to deceit (H. Deeb)
This research examines new strategic and cognitive interviewing techniques that increase the differences in liars’ and truth-tellers’ between-statement consistency as well as statement-evidence consistency. It also investigates consistency when liars use strategies to counteract these interviewing techniques.

- Behavioural indicators of confirmation bias and expectancy effects during suspect interrogations (N. Adams-Quackenbush)
This research investigates the phenomena of confirmation bias and expectancy effects in relation to investigative interviews. The focus of this research is to understand how police officers’ beliefs may lead to the creation of confirmation bias in an investigative interview, to study how the presence of confirmation bias and expectancy effects influence suspect and interviewer behaviour, and to determine whether certain types of investigative interviews are more effective in reducing confirmation bias and expectancy effects.

- Inducing disclosure in HUMINT interviews (D. Neequaye)
An emerging body of research suggests that interviewees in human intelligence contexts can be persuaded to disclose information by priming certain concepts and motivations that promote disclosure. This research examines the underlying mechanisms that leads a primed interview to disclose (or withhold) information.

- A Multi-Method Approach to the Detection of Fabricated Symptoms (I. Boskovic)
This research is based on testing different methods of deception detection and then applying those methods in cases of fabricated symptoms. The importance of this project is not only theoretical, but also practical. The intentional fabrication of symptoms in order to receive an external benefit is defined as malingering. Malingering occurs approximately in 30% of symptom reports, more often including psychological symptoms reported in personal injury cases, rather than in physical complaints in criminal setting. There are many possible benefits that can follow malingering, ranging from financial (e.g., compensation) to legal (e.g., diminished criminal responsibility) incentives. For those reasons, this research is focused on testing different methods that can contribute to detection of fabricated symptoms. By applying different methods, we should be able to establish specific patterns of behavior that are distinctive for those who malinger symptoms, compared with people with genuine complaints. One of the methods is testing whether the people are really suffering from certain symptoms is to assess their symptoms reports using the Verifiability Approach, by looking into the details that, in principle, can be checked. Second, we will test their reaction time to symptom-related words in Modified Stroop task. Finally, we will assess the symptom endorsement of truth tellers and malingerers using the recently developed measure – the Self-Report Symptom Inventory.

- Memory-Based Approaches to The Examination of Alibis Provided by Innocent Suspects (S. Portnoy)
This research examines factors that may affect, and more specifically, enhance, the informativeness and accuracy of the information reported by innocent suspects when they provide an alibi to convince an interviewer of their innocence. This research is based on findings showing that innocent suspects struggle to report accurately from memory during police interviews, and may be consequently believed to be guilty. Specifically, we investigate how different pre-alibi instructions may enhance innocent suspects’ memory output during alibi provision. Additionally, we examine the effects of interviewers’ presumed guilt on the quality of the information provided in the alibis of innocent suspects.

- Memory based lie detection (A. Izotovas)
This research examines how reporting of details changes over time in truthful and deceptive statements. In particular, it aims to examine how memory-enhancing (mnemonic) techniques used in an interview carried out immediately after an event affects truth tellers’ and liars’ responses in both an immediate interview and in a delayed interview.


ON-GOING PHD RESEARCH

- How to frame questions in police interviews to alter guilty suspects’ counter-interrogation strategies? (Meghana Srivatsav)
The aim of this research is to establish a theoretical understanding of guilty suspects’ counter-interrogation strategies in police interviews and how they can be altered as a function of the suspects’ perception of the knowledge the interviewer holds regarding their role in crime.

- Truthful and Deceptive Information within Statements (Brianna Verigin)
This research examines how truthful and deceptive information interacts within statements and whether such interactions are reflected by suspects’ interview strategies. We further aim to establish ways to increase the detection of embedded lies within statements.

- Does chronotype (morningness/eveningness) affect eyewitness performance? (Sergii Yaremenko)
Cognitive performance does not stay constant throughout the day. The so-called circadian rhythms are responsible for variations in a number of neurophysiological factors, which results in time-of-day differences in performance on a number of cognitive tasks. Interestingly, individuals differ in the time of day at which they reach their peak, which has led to a classification into morning, intermediate and evening types. The morning types show higher cognitive performance in the morning than in the afternoon or evening; the opposite is true for the evening types. However, little attention has been paid to a possible role of the synchrony effect in eyewitness memory performance. Could time-of-day optimality be a factor that affects eyewitness memory performance? Is it possible that eyewitnesses could provide less accurate details and be more prone to accept misinformation at their non-optimal compared to optimal time of day? These and other issues are the focus of this project.

- Improving the disclosure of information in forensic interviews: Examining environmental influences.  (Katherine Hoogesteyn)
This research aims to investigate environmental influences in forensic interviews, and how environmental factors can affect the interviewer, the interviewee, and their interaction. Additionally, we are interested in examining if the environment can be used to the advantage of the interviewer, by employing environmental manipulation techniques aimed to improve the process of building rapport and facilitate disclosure.

- Coping with sexual abuse (Tameka Romeo)
This research aims to understand how the use of coping strategies can impact on memory accuracy and the relevance that this may have for victims of child sexual abuse (CSA). It also examines the effect of CSA victims’ use of coping strategies on legal professionals’ assessment credibility.

- The role of metamemory on the discrimination of reliable eyewitnesses (Renan Benigno Saraiva)
Discriminating accurate from inaccurate eyewitness is paramount in the Criminal Justice System. Accurate eyewitnesses provide incriminatory evidence that can be used against a perpetrator, but inaccurate eyewitnesses can have severe consequences in court including miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions. This research investigates the use of metamemory measures to estimate eyewitness performance in free recall and identification tasks.

- Investigative Interviewing with Uncooperative Witnesses (Alejandra De La Fuente Vilar)
Police rely on witness testimony to advance investigations; however, witness cooperation is not always granted. This research aims to examine the reliability of uncooperative witnesses’ testimony during criminal investigations from the perspective of the interviewee and the interviewer. On one hand, it will explore the role of witness cooperation on information disclosure and how it affects later memory for a target event. On the other hand, this research will focus on how interviewers conduct investigative interviews when they must overcome witness resistance, and whether their interviewing approach is effective to elicit information from uncooperative witnesses.

- How to interview to elicit admissions from suspects in denial (Minhwan Jang)
This research aims to explore the impact of evidence on a criminal interview, which has long been ignored in the criminal interview context. First, how criminals perceive evidence held against them and how this perception influences their counter interrogation strategies will be explored. For comparison, police investigators’ evidence perception will be investigated. In addition, criminals’ detectability of whether police really hold incriminating evidence against them and of investigator’s bluff are the other things to look at. Finding the type of cues (verbal or non-verbal) they rely on is another important aspect of this SUE research.

- False memories for repeated experiences (Bruna Ferreira da Silva Calado)
Inspired by the cases of false memories of repeated occurrences of sexual abuse, this research examines the formation of false memories for repeated experiences (FMRE) in lab conditions as well as seeks to discuss the fabrication of false memories in real current cases. Applying the implantation paradigm in three different conditions, this investigation assesses whether FMRE happen with the same frequency as false memories for single events would. Our conclusion will bridge the gap in the literature concerning FMRE, bringing scientific discussions in the False Memory field forward.

- Is there a negative effect of stress on eyewitness memory?  (Carey Marr)
This research examines the effect of stress on eyewitness memory, which has been a subject of debate between the fields of eyewitness and neurobiological research. By applying neurobiological methodology to eyewitness settings, we are investigating the role that stress during plays in face recognition memory, as well as examining nuances in the timing of the stressor (e.g., pre- or post- cortisol peak). We are also interested in examining how to reduce the negative effects that stress can have on retrieval memory.

- Forensic examiner bias and risk assessment (Jennifer Kamorowski)
This research examines internal and external influences on forensic mental health evaluators who conduct risk assessments. Risk assessments have significant influence on decision-making in the criminal justice system and are seldom subject to review or validation. However, research about the impact of cognitive biases and heuristics on forensic evaluations is sparse. In particular, few researchers have examined the role of cognitive bias among forensic evaluators at the level of their observations or information-seeking strategies. Furthermore, few studies have examined how potentially biased cognition in observations may affect scoring of actuarial risk assessment instruments and evaluations of risk. A series of experimental studies and surveys will examine forensic mental health evaluators’ understanding of cognitive bias, their use of debiasing strategies, and the influence of potentially biasing information on subsequent formulations of offender risk. 

- Cultural influences on perception, retention and eye-witness testimony (Nkansah Anakwah)
This research examines cultural influences on eyewitness memory. The testimony given by eye witnesses depends to a great extent on their perception of a crime event. The research will thus examine comparatively, differences in eyewitness testimony between eyewitnesses from sub-Sahara Africa and western Europe. The research will further our understanding of cultural influences within the eyewitness testimony paradigm.

- Falsification in Legal Decision-making (Enide Maegherman)
The aim of this project is to investigate the role of falsification in legal decision-making. The plan is to do so by using a case study and a questionnaire with judges to determine the role of falsification in practice. A number of experimental studies will investigate ways in which falsification can be encouraged.




Candidates data may be used for the purpose of evaluating the programmes, efficiently manage the projects, and producing statistics. Data could be made available to the EACEA, The European Commission, the European External Action Service staff, as well as to other stakeholders of the Erasmus+ programme, such as Erasmus+ National Agencies, National Erasmus+ Offices and the Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association.


The House of Legal Psychology Erasmus MundusUniversity of PortsmouthGoeteborg UniversityMaastricht University