Torture, such as waterboarding, is on the rise in several countries, with US President Donald Trump being vocal in his support of it. However, a recent US government report has concluded that the use of “enhanced interrogation” by the CIA was ineffective.
Professor Dando said: “Many scientists agree that the reason that torture is counterproductive for gaining accurate and useful intelligence is that stress, fear and physical injury has a catastrophic impact on the brain. This includes the ability to remember information. The view has been backed up by security professionals who have been involved in human intelligence and special operations in the field. And if that isn’t enough, there is also evidence that punitive behaviour actually encourages lying.”
About her research, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology: General, she said: “Our recent study has identified a conversational approach known as controlled cognitive engagement that we believe may be highly effective for gathering intelligence.”