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Flashcards in Task 3 - Intelligence Interview Deck (14)
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What is a intelligence interview?

- the HUMIT (human intelligence interview) is an interview to extract information from a source
Example: get information what the next target of a certain terrorist organisation is


Differences between police interview and intelligence interview?

Look at the nice table


O'Mara (2009). Torturing the brain:

Folk Psychology about torture (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques)
- people withhold information voluntarily, to avoid (further) torture they at some point give up their valuable information
--> makes sense to lay people but no supporting data whatsoever!!

Contemporary Scientific Model
- prolonged extreme stress as well as sleep deprivation negatively impacts memory because if impairs the structural and functional integrity of hippocampus + PFC + sleep crucial for function of memory

How does extreme stress (or repeated exposure to chronic pain) influence memory?
- inhibits LTP (memory formation)
- facilitates long term depression, leading to hippocampal atrophy, impairs learning
--> implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD

- Extremely stressed soldiers (based on prison of war experience) have impaired visuo-spatial capacity and recall of previously learned information
- Brain imaging: Abnormal patterns of activation in frontal and temporal lobes in severe torture victims, with deficits in verbal memory of traumatic events

Torture as a conditioning process
- to not endure the torture the victims learn that "just talking" is a safe signal
- torture victims reported that they would have said anything to make the torture stop but not necessarily the truth
--> torture works to make people talk but no way to know if its true, also likely that it is not

Coercion with extreme stress is unlikely to facilitate release of truthful information, but will likely cause severe, repeated, and prolonged stress that compromise brain tissue supporting memory and EF
--> torture = bad :(


Evans, J. R., Houston, K. A., Meissner, C. A., Ross, A. B., LaBianca, J. R., Woestehoff, S. A., & Kleinman, S. M. (2014). An empirical evaluation of intelligence-gathering
interrogation techniques from the United States Army field manual. - ARMY FIELD MANUAL


- experimentally assessed effectiveness of 3 approaches from "Army Field Manual"
--> Direct Approach, Positive Emotional Approach, Negative Emotional

• Interrogators trained in 3 scripts and randomly assigned to conditions:
•Innocent condition: they did test and confederate called friend (not allowed use phone) to tell her the test was harder
•Guilty condition: same script but confederate used a cheat sheet, call her friend, googled AND copied the answers
• participant was then interrogated
o Direct approach = just ask
o Negative emotional approach = anxiety and intimidation based
o Positive emotional approach = reducing anxiety and resistance
--> to facilitate rapport, the interrogator engaged in self‐disclosure AND then asked open-ended questions

• Positive + Negative Emotional Approaches increased the collection of information from both guilty and innocent participants (vs. Direct Approach)
• positive approaches
>reduced anxiety
> increased perceptions of fostering atmosphere + enhanced relationship between fostering atmosphere and information gain


Redlich, A. D., Kelly, C. E., & Miller, J. C. (2014). The who, what, and why of human intelligence gathering: Self-reported measures of interrogation methods.


- determine what interrogators perceive to be effective methods, as well as whether and how context influences this perceived efficacy --> who, what, why

- techniques:
> accusatory vs. information-gathering
> meso-level domains (by Kelly)
rapport and relationship building
context manipulation
emotion provocation
confrontation/ competition
presentation of evidence
- surveyed US federal-level interrogators
(also examined believes about deception detection)

- 5 most frequently employed techniques:
1.Meet basic needs 2.Show kindness 3.Build a bond 4.Be patient 5.Specific position
--> rapport!!!
- 5 least frequently used technique:
1.Rapid fire 2.View other detainees 3.Insult detainee 4.Overhear others 5.Misrepresent self

- majority believed that friendliness and rapport are important for success!!!
- majority believed that likelihood of successful interrogation increased with interrogators who are 25+ years, older than the detainee, intelligent, fluent in the language of the detainee, more than 2 years experience, similar ethnic backgrounds
- military vs. law-enforcement
1) law enforcement viewed emotion provocation and context manipulation as significantly more effective for confession/ prosecution outcomes
2) law enforcement viewed context manipulation as more effective in strategic interrogations
- active vs. retired -> retired more reported rapport building


Ticking Time Bomb (TTB) scenario - Spino (2014)

What is the TTB?

Study 1

Study 2

Study 3

- terrorist has planted a bomb
- you could torture them to get the information about the bomb
--> is torture justifiable in this scenario?
Utilitarian view: yes --> "for the greater good"

Study 1
- torture + alternatives were described as having either high or low probability of success
• participants completed questionnaire about utilitarianism vs deontology + experimental task

--> endorsement varied as a function of the success likelihood of torture and its alternatives
• people were less willing to endorse torture when not likely successful and alternatives were available

Study 2
- culpability was manipulated by describing the suspect as a terrorist or criminal or civilian
(same procedure as exp 1)

• culpability strongly impacted all three judgments
o when suspect was culpable --> pps saw torture as more acceptable
o when suspect called "terrorist" even more acceptable
• Deontologists objected more strongly to torture (in theory!)
o majority of pps classified as utilitarian (questionnaire)
o torture judgments indicated that the majority were better described: strict deontologists (46 %)/ strict utilitarian (27 %)/ “dirty hands deontologists” (27 %)

Study 3
- same as exp. 2 but also measure empathetic concern
= the tendency to experience feelings of warmth, compassion, and concern for other people
- empathic concern did not distinguish utilitarian from deontologists
o instead, degree of emotional distress in response to distress of others + ease with which they can imagine themselves in fictitious character’s place --> predicted decision profiles about torture

--> acceptability of torture depends on a idealized and unrealistic utilitarian structure
--> culpability and successfulness played an important role
--> deontology vs. utilitarianism not so much although opposing philosophies on torture


Granhag, P. A., Montecinos, S. C., & Oleszkiewicz, S. (2015). Eliciting intelligence from sources: The first scientific test of the Scharff technique.


- asses the effectiveness of the Scharff techniques

- 93 pps given info about planned terrorist attack
- should not reveal too much nor too little in the interview
- 3 conditions: Scharff, open-questions, specific questions
- effectiveness assessed by a novel set of objective and subjective measures

- techniques did not differ in objective amount of new information gathered
- pps thought (incorrectly) that they had revealed less info in Scharff and open-ended condition
- pps in Scharff condition found it more difficult to read the interviewer's information objectives
=> NO support for the Scharff technique

- only short telephone interviews
- student sample
- pps were not allowed to lie which would definitely happen in real life
- not high external validity
- not very successful in properly establishing the ‘I‐already‐know‐it‐all’ tactic
- maybe we don't know everything about the Scharff techinque

=> maybe success is less down to the tactic and really more down to the person who applies the technique!!!???


Oleszkiewicz, S., Granhag, P. A., & Cancino Montecinos, S. (2014). The Scharff-technique:
Eliciting intelligence from human sources.


- compared the efficiency of the Scharff Technique vs. Direct Approach (combination of open- and closed-ended questions)

- 60 pps were given info about a fictional terrorist attack
- pps were to play the source and not reveal too much or too little
- interviewers already possesed half of the information

- in Scharff condition pps revealed significantly more and precise information
- Scharff condition underestimated how much new information they revealed, in Direct Approach condition overestimated
=> shows source's information-management dilemma (linked to self-regulation theory)
=> counterinterrogation strategy only work if the source knows what the interrogator know (knowing it all illusion is crucial!!!l)
=> strong support for the Scharff-technique

- student sample
- only short phone interviews
- pps were not allowed to fabricate info (which they probably would in real life) --> not really good external validity
- did not overall elicited this much new info compared to what the interviewer already knew
- did not assess relative importance of individual themes of the Scharff technique

=> maybe Scharff-technique only works when interviewer already has some information and can successfully create a knowing it all illusion


The Scharff-Technique

- named after Hanns Scharff (a German interrogators in WWII)
- he apparently was really successful with it (getting sources to give infos but being unaware of how much they revealed)
- technique to get information from a source (pows)
- main element is "perspective taking"
- also anticipating and used counterinterrogation strategies:
1. ‘I will not tell very much during the interrogation’
2. ‘I will try to figure out what they are after, and then make sure not to give them what they want’
3. ‘It is meaningless to deny or hold back what they already know’

Main elements:
1) Friendly approach
2) Not pressing for information (rather he told the long stories)
3) "I already know it all illusion"
4) Confirmation/Disconfirmation (rather then direct questions)
5) Ignoring new information (or rather not react to it)

+ way more ethical then torture :)
- mixed results of actual effectiveness :(


Consequences of torture (Costanzo)

- may leave little/no physical evidence
- ineffective, but cause long-lasting harm

- Consequences for victims:
> PTSD !
> anxiety, depression, irritability, aggressiveness, emotional lability, self-isolation, dissociation
(psychological consequences)
> confusion, disorientation, memory impairments
(cognitive consequences)
> insomnia, nightmares, sexual dysfunction
(neuro-vegetative symptoms)

4 contextual features of torture that distinguish it from other traumatic experiences
- intent
- purpose
- exposure to multiple, unpredictable, uncontrollable, potentially traumatic events
- deliberate attempt to remove control from person and induce state of total helplessness

- Consequences on perpetrators of torture:
> similar to those of victims incl. anxiety, intrusive traumatic memories, impaired cog. and soc. functioning
--> especially for children (child soldiers)


Situational factors promoting cruelty
(Costanzo & Gerrity)

- lack of clear instruction, specific training, direct supervision, accountability
- group cohesiveness, strong sense of loyalty: pressure to participate in torture of prisoners
- negative stereotypes about out-group
- large power-distance
- diffused responsibility
> Uniforms & strict rules about appearance = more anonymous and deindividualized (reduced self- awareness
> one's own needs and desires must be subservient to those of the group
> justifying torture


Psychological justification
(Costanzo & Gerrity)

- moral disengagement
> placing some people/groups outside the moral boundaries that apply to own group
> torture is essential to create security for own group (self-defence)
> only way to prevent terror
- euphemistic labelling
> ‘alternative method’ instead of torture
> ‘waterboarding’
- use of exonerating comparisons
> "others have used much cruller methods"
- hindsight bias


Political justification
(Costanzo & Gerrity)

- "enhanced" interrogation that does not result in lasting injuries
- "ticking time bomb" (TTB) scenario
--> assumptions (which never occurred in real life / cannot be checked)
> Existence specific piece of actionable information could be used to avert disaster
> interrogators know for sure that suspect possesses specific info
> threat is imminent
> only torture can lead to disclosure
> torture is the fastest method to get valid, actionable info


Is torture effective?

- difficult to determine because we can't experiment on that and in real life ground truth is missing
- however, form normal suspect interview we know that false confessions happen and that coercion is a risk factor
--> torture = much more coercive
further problems:
- often not that much time so suspect/torture victim someone who fits the "terrorist profile" rather than someone who was identified after long investigation
- often used when suspicion of deception, BUT humans are really bad in detecting deception ("Liar stereotype")
- very biased in perception and questioning (assumes guilt/that person has needed info)

=> So, NO torture is not effective!!!