Open access journal of forensic psychology – 2009. 1

Criminal versus HUMINT interrogations: The importance of psychological science to improving interrogative practice

Jacqueline R. Evans1, Christian A. Meissner1, Susan E. Brandon2, Melissa B. Russano3 & Steve M. Kleinman

Contact Information: Jacqueline R. Evans, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968

This material is excerpted, with the kind permission of the publisher, from a forthcoming special issue of The Journal of Psychiatry & Law that was guest edited by Gregory DeClue and overseen by JP&L Editor-in-Chief Philip Witt. 

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Abstract: The discovery of many cases of wrongful conviction in the criminal justice system involving admissions from innocent suspects has led psychologists to examine the factors contributing to false confessions. However, little systematic research has assessed the processes underlying Human Intelligence (HUMINT) interrogations relating to military and intelligence operations. The current article examines the similarities and differences between interrogations in criminal and HUMINT settings, and discusses the extent to which the current empirical literature can be applied to criminal and/or HUMINT interrogations. Finally, areas of future research are considered in light of the need for improving HUMINT interrogation.


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1University of Texas at El Paso

2U.S. Department of Defense

3Roger Williams University