Professor Coral Dando, Professor of Psychology in the Faculty of Science and Technology presented her interim findings at the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG)’s sixth annual symposium in Washington DC.

Professor Dando’s two year research project, ‘Intelligence Interviewing: Controlled Cognitive Engagement, Cross-cultural Persuasion, and Cognitive Style’ is funded by the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) and aims to develop psychologically guided intelligence gathering interview techniques for use by intelligence interviewers.   

Together with a team of UK researchers, Professor Dando has led the study into interrogation practises and methodology and was invited to present her interim findings to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) at a symposium in Washington DC from 17-19 October.

Her research so far has developed a novel persuasion technique, which uses cognitive psychological techniques to persuade interviewees to move from withholding to yielding information in a non-coercive manner.

Her findings indicate that tactical interviewing, positive framing, targeted communication and rapport building, embedded into the the new method, which draws on her previous research funded by the US Dep. Of Homeland Security to develop a conversational security technique, can significantly improve intelligence gathering during interviews.

Speaking about the event, Professor Dando said: “As a British female scientist, who has previously served as a London police officer for over 10 years, I am completely delighted that my research is funded by the HIG, and that I was invited to Washington DC to share my interim results.

“I see this as an exciting opportunity for my research to have real impact outside of academia, and I am looking forward to the second year of the project.

“Having experienced the pressures faced by interviewers during high stakes interviews, I know only too well that having access to a tool box of scientifically supported and empirically evaluated interview techniques is fundamental to high quality practice.”

The HIG was established in 2009 by a task force that was created out of the Executive Order 13491 to review the US Government’s interrogation and transfer policies. The Research Programme was established to improve US Government’s ability to interrogate terrorist suspects.

All research sponsored by HIG is unclassified, and researchers are free to publish their findings. The HIG’s strategy is to assess interrogation methods continuously to strengthen national security that are consistent with the rule of law.

 

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