Language style matching and police interrogation outcomes

Richardson, Beth and Taylor, Paul J. and Snook, Brent and Conchie, Stacey and Bennell, Craig (2014) Language style matching and police interrogation outcomes. Law and Human Behavior, 38 (4). pp. 357-366. ISSN 0147-7307

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This research examined the coordination of interrogator and suspects’ verbal behavior in interrogations. Sixty-four police interrogations were examined at the aggregate and utterance level using a measure of verbal mimicry known as Language Style Matching. Analyses revealed an interaction between confession and the direction of language matching. Interrogations containing a confession were characterized by higher rates of the suspect matching the interrogators’ language style than interrogations without a confession. A sequence analysis of utterance-level Language Style Matching revealed a divergence in the type of matching that occurred across outcome. There was a linear increase in interrogator-led matching for interrogations containing a confession and an increase in suspect-led matching for nonconfession interrogations. These findings suggest that police interrogations play out, in part, at the basic level of language coordination.

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Journal Article
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Law and Human Behavior
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Deposited On:
04 Dec 2013 10:00
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 00:30