Simulated life threatening situations

Geiselman et al found that most of the 'key' information was remembered and thirty five percent more information was recalled in the CI than the standard interview although there was little difference between incorrect recalls or confabulations. Representative samples of the general public using the same technique have suggested that the cognitive interview is not dependent upon the age of the interviewee or their level of education.

Memon and Bull (1991) believed that much of the efficiency of the CI derives from the context reinstatement technique and they assert that police working with the CI method also believe that rather than from the others, context reinstatement facilitates memory recall. In the same paper Memon and Bull argue that using different perspectives often helps child witnesses to recall events by 'pretending to be someone else' who has around the event.

However, Payne, 1987 (as cited in Memon and Higham, 1996) found that there was not a significant difference between the four individual components of the CI and this has been replicated several times (Memon 1996). The CI works on the assumption that the interviewee wants to cooperate with the interviewer. However, in real life situations this quite often is not the case. Hernandez-Fernaud and Alonso-Quecuty (1997) tested the CI against the tradition Spanish standard interview technique. It is important that the interviewee can discriminate between truths and lies during the interview because of the implications generated.

They confirmed that the CI produced more accurate information with fewer errors although physical descriptions of people were less accurate than the SI technique. But this has been found in Memon and Bull (1995), Memon (1995) amongst others. False details were reduced using the CI. In later papers, Geiselman and Fisher (1988) added further techniques to the original interview, and this later formulation became known as the Enhanced Cognitive Interview (or ECI). The ECI allows the interviewee to do the talking and dictate the agenda through a transfer of control and open questioning.

Geiselman (1996) reviewed the work on the CI and stated that the CI has a great deal of potential as an investigative tool. The ECI has made even more progress, improving interviewing techniques even more but the success of the ECI relies heavily on the interviewers ability to communicate in conjunction to the techniques involved. Why most agree, there is no running away from the flaws it may have, as evidence suggests. It has shown to increase questioning time, fatigue and the cognitive demands on the interviewer and participant.

Geiselman et al found that memory increased using the technique and that the number of false interruptions in memory were reduced although this isn't always the case as some studies have found a greater amount of false interruptions (Mello and Fisher, 1996). Today, the cognitive interview is in use by the police and also amongst other professions in the USA and the UK with studies and practice showing how the CI can be very effective in increasing the amount of information recalled by a witness, without increasing the associated level of confabulation.