An interview is a conversation that is intended to evoke a response and collect information. It is a process whereby information is obtained from an interviewee through proposed actions or questions of an interviewer. It is extremely vital to have the necessary interview skills and knowledge because much of the information gathered comes from the people interviewed. Investigative psychology is a new field of applied psychology, which attempts to explain the actions of criminals and offenders and help to understand modern crime. This knowledge assists in solving major complex crimes committed by criminals. Investigative interviewing is a critical fact-finding process that police officers use during the investigation of the offense. Quality information from a survey requires a quality interview.

The Reid Technique

The Reid Technique of interrogation was developed by John E. Reid. He devised it after making some significant contributions to the initial polygraph technique, which was an unstructured procedure that significantly relied on interrogation techniques. The changes made by Reid resulted in the creation of an objective system that diagnosed deception and truth without necessarily relying on interrogation. Through observation and experiences, he refined these procedures with the help of other staff members whom he trained as his business had grown over time.

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One of the crucial procedures developed by Reid was the Behavior Analysis Interview, which is a structured interview format procedure that is used in the evaluation of a person’s sincerity without necessarily using a polygraph. It should be mentioned that previously, namely in the early 1930’s, the police used long and rigid questioning to obtain information (Bull, Valentine, & Williamson, 2009). As a result, Mr. Fred Inbau together with Mr. Reid decided to devise a meticulous procedure of interrogation, which would not rely on intimidation of the interviewee to establish the truth. This, of course, was done by the application of accepted psychological principles.

The Reid Technique consists of three distinct procedures that include the analysis of facts that is followed by the interviewing of the suspect and interrogation. Although these components are different, they are connected to one another such that each component serves to rule out innocent suspects. Therefore, this helps the person investigating to focus on identifying which suspect might be guilty. Each of these procedures should be discussed separately.

Factual Analysis

Factual analysis is a provisional approach whereby each suspect is assessed based on precise observations that relate to a particular crime. The factual analysis does not rely only on crime scene investigation but also on the information of each suspect available. As a result of using factual analysis, investigators can establish the suspects’ probable culpability or innocence based on such factors as their social status. From the nature of the crime, detectives may be able to focus on such aspects as the gender, race, age, or even occupation of the offender (Bull et al., 2009). They can also hypothesize whether the victim knew the offender or whether the crime was premeditated. Factual analysis requires flexibility within independent evaluations, which helps it to serve as a quality control procedure.


The next procedure is the interviewing, which should be differentiated from interrogation to avoid confusion. Behavior Analysis Interview is a structured procedure that involves asking deliberate ‘behavior provoking’ questions that evoke suspects’ response in the form of behavior or specific actions that can serve as an indication of truth or deceit.


Interrogation is an accusatory procedure whereby the investigator has to be sure that the interviewee is somehow involved in the case at hand or investigation. There has been substantial academic research on certain aspects of police interrogation, testing whether these inquiries could lead to false confessions. One facet of the Reid Technique is to train investigators to be able to tell whether a suspect is honest by evaluating the non-verbal behavior. Another side of the Reid approach is that interrogation may lead to innocent suspects confessing to the crime (Lassiter & Messiner, 2010). This type of investigation has evolved over the years to become one of the most used techniques in the modern world.

Forensic Hypnosis

Forensic hypnosis is a technique used in interrogation whereby it involves the enhancement of the recollection of memories of the witnesses and victims of crime and even trauma. This method is suited for anyone who has gone through a traumatic incident and is struggling to come to terms with it. It is also applicable in the instances of cooperative suspects who have a poor recollection of memory about the experience, whereby the information obtained about the incident may be admissible in a Civil or Criminal Court. A hypnotized person or suspect in this context is in a natural state of selective attention or altered consciousness symbolized by heightened awareness and deep alleviation.

Forensic hypnosis has been used in the justice system ever since the 1800’s in numerous big and high profile cases (Lassiter & Messiner, 2010). However, it has been met with critics over the years concerning the reliability of the information obtained from the hypnotized person. Most people do not know the exact nature of hypnosis, thereby bringing doubts in the trustworthiness of the technique. There has been worldwide controversy regarding this issue with some people viewing it as a valuable modern method for evoking authentic memories. Others consider this technique as a culpability since it is inaccurate.

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The advantage of forensic hypnosis is that it often gives distinct and precise evidence. There are set up procedures that are hypnotically related and are in place to prepare the witnesses before they testify in court (Vrij, 2008). They are extremely vital since the evidence given could sway juries with their convincing memories. Nevertheless, the risks in this specific technique outweigh the benefits. During hypnosis, the interview mau accept the suggestibility as the truth. Prejudice and some certain beliefs could probably influence the interpretation of events by the subject. Subjects with personal agendas could also fabricate lies under hypnosis for their gains. On the other hand, strict guidelines and conditions, together with a trained professional who can obtain information from the subject without accidentally embedding an idea or suggestion in his head, have the potential to assist the subject and the justice system (Vrij, 2008). However, this has proved hard since the numbers of trained professionals are not many, and there are still many questions regarding the reliability.


Summing up, this paper has looked at two of the major tactics that bring about the most successful dynamic of the interviewing process. The Reid Technique has over the years been refined through extensive observation and experience from various investigators. It is the technique that is used the most often, which has proved reliable over the years in cases in which it has been used. With the evidence presented above, this technique should with no doubt be continued and refined as many justice systems continue adopting it. On the other hand, forensic hypnosis has faced many challenges with the risks outweighing the benefits. Until the reliability of information obtained from hypnosis is guaranteed, the use of this technique could lead to errors in the justice system and conviction of innocent people.