Annual psychology lecture to focus on police witness interview technique

Gary Hughes
Professor Amina Memon

Professor Amina Memon will give the University of Kent’s School of Psychology Annual Lecture 2019.

Titled ‘Interviewing witnesses of crime: State of the science and future directions’, her lecture will take place on 31 October in Sibson Lecture Theatre 1 at 6.15pm. It is free and open to all.

Professor Amina Memon is director of the interdisciplinary Research Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law at Royal Holloway. She conducts robust and ecologically valid research on the use of cognitive techniques in police investigations. Her work has important implications for how children, vulnerable adults and seniors are interviewed and how these interviews are undertaken and processed by police officers, judges and other professionals within the judiciary system.

She has served as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases where she has been consulted on her expert knowledge on child witnesses, memory, eyewitness identification and historic abuse in the UK and USA.

For her lecture she will review the impact of the cognitive interview (CI), an ethical and effective model of interviewing that draws on the science of memory and communication. The appeal of the CI lies in its flexibility to be adapted for use in different contexts. Within the policing and criminal justice context, it’s been invaluable in inspiring research with different populations to examine how cognitive deficits and other challenges may compromise witness testimony. When used appropriately the CI results in a questioning style that minimises bias that can come from interviewers or misleading information.

Professor Memon will also consider the future applications of the tool including its potential for gathering information about human rights abuses and the benefits for interviewers as well as interviewees.

Professor Amina Memon

Kent’s Dr Emma Alleyne, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, will provide the welcome and introductions.