Development of the Interview and Interrogation Assessment Instrument
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Confession evidence factors heavily in judicial decision making, and courts may call an expert social scientist to assess the coercive pressures of an interrogation and risk factors for false confession. At present, there exists no standardized methods for performing this task, and each expert uses their own unstructured professional judgment. To address this lack of standardization, we have developed a psychological instrument for evaluating videotaped interrogations: the Interview and Interrogation Assessment InstrumentTM. We begin with a discussion of the benefits of standardized measurement and proceed to an overview of the conceptualization and initial development of our instrument. In Study 1, we established the bases for the instrument’s items and scoring by surveying expert populations. In Study 2 we assessed interrater reliability and explain our instrument refinements based on our results. In Study 3, we examined convergent validity. Social science experts reviewed interrogation videos and rated the coercive pressures along multiple dimensions. We correlated the expert ratings with our instrument’s measures. We conclude that the newly developed instrument demonstrates preliminary reliability and convergent validity and appears to be a promising tool for future research and expert consultation in contested confession cases.