Examining the positive effects of rapport building: when and why does rapport building benefit adult eyewitness memory?

Memory. 2014;22(8):1010-23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2013.864313. Epub 2013 Dec 4.


Most investigative interviewing protocols recommend building rapport with cooperative adult witnesses to increase the accuracy of their reports. Although a few recent studies support the benefits of rapport building on adult witness recall, no study has examined whether the timing of rapport in relation to post-event misinformation affects recall accuracy, and whether these effects are related to witness anxiety levels throughout the interview. The present study provided two hundred and thirty-three undergraduates with a videotaped mock crime followed by building high or low rapport either before or after they received post-event misinformation. All witnesses were then interviewed about the mock crime. Results indicated that high rapport before misinformation increased the amount of accurate information reported in a subsequent witness interview compared to low rapport. However, these recall benefits were not due to a reduction in anxiety. Theoretical implications and practical recommendations for police interviewing practices are discussed.

Keywords: Anxiety; Investigative interviewing; Misinformation; Rapport building; Witness.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Communication
  • Crime / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Memory, Episodic*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Police
  • Video Recording
  • Young Adult