Urgent Issues and Prospects at the Intersection of Culture, Memory, and Witness Interviews: Exploring the Challenges for Research and Practice

Hope, Lorraine; Anakwah, Nkansah; Antfolk, Jan; Brubacher, Sonja P.; Flowe, Heather; Gabbert, Fiona; Giebels, Ellen; Kanja, Wangu; Korkman, Julia; Kyo, Akira; Naka, Makiko; Otgaar, Henry; Powell, Martine B.; Selim, Hedayat; Skrifvars, Jenny; Sorkpah, Isaac Kwasi; Sowatey, Emmanuel A.; Steele, Linda C.; Stevens, Laura; Sumampouw, Nathanael E. J.; Taylor, Paul J.; Trevino-Rangel, Javier; van Veldhuizen, Tanja; Wang, Jianqin and Wells, Simon. 2022. Urgent Issues and Prospects at the Intersection of Culture, Memory, and Witness Interviews: Exploring the Challenges for Research and Practice. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 27(1), pp. 1-31. ISSN 1355-3259 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The pursuit of justice increasingly relies on productive interactions between witnesses and investigators from diverse cultural backgrounds during investigative interviews. To date, the role of cultural context has largely been ignored by researchers in the field of investigative interviewing, despite repeated requests from practitioners and policy-makers for evidence-based guidance for the conduct of interviews with people from different cultures. Through examining cultural differences in human memory and communication and considering specific contextual challenges for investigative interviewing through the lens of culture, this review and associated commentaries highlight the scope for considering culture and human diversity in research on, and the practice of, investigative interviewing with victims, witnesses, and other sources. Across 11 commentaries, contributors highlight the importance of considering the role of culture in different investigative interviewing practices (e.g., rapport building, questioning techniques) and contexts (e.g., gender-based violence, asylum seeking, child abuse), address common areas of cultural mismatch between interviewer-interviewee expectations, and identify critical future routes for research. We call for an increased focus in the investigative interviewing literature on the nature and needs of our global community and encourage constructive and collaborative discussion between researchers and practitioners from around the world to better identify specific challenges and work together towards evidence-based solutions.

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Additional Information:

Funding: LH and PT’s work in writing this article was funded by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (ESRC Award: ES/N009614/1), which is funded in part by the UK Home Office and security and intelligence agencies (see the public grant decision here: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=ES%2FV002775%2F1).


Eyewitness memory, culture, investigative interviewing, child interviewing, memory, cross-cultural, rapport

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Forensic Psychology Unit


29 October 2021Accepted
19 December 2021Published Online
February 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

24 Nov 2021 09:38

Last Modified:

18 Jan 2022 16:19

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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