Helms School of Government


Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS)


Billy Wilson


Interrogation, Interview, Reid, Cognitive




Much research has been done, which aims at the use of the Reid Technique in the interrogation room. The technique, named after Reid and Inbrau, uses an aggressive presumption of guilt tactic that has been blamed for the unconstitutional coercion of criminal confession. Those that argue against the use of the technique are typically proponents of the cognitive technique, an interrogation model that eschews the aggressive “finger-pointing” of the Reid technique in favor of more friendly interactions, where the suspect is set up to tell their side of the story freely. Should they be attempting to lie during a cognitive interrogation, the concept of cognitive load will interrupt their ability to continue lying as their mental reserves dry up. However, the research, as well as the so-called empirical data that has been uncovered as a result of the research, not only results in wildly differing numbers and statistics, but almost universally refers to a “dark figure” that attempts to account for the unaccountable. Almost all research points to this unknown data as a variable that can never be identified, yet still is not stopped from making a claim against the technique. The intention of this article, and the research within of nearly 600 criminal court dispositions in the state of New York from the years 2000 to 2020, was to show that there is no known correlation between the use of one technique or another and the ultimate disposition of a criminal case. Instead, the “dark figure” is used to represent the idea that there is almost an infinite amount of variables in criminal cases, and it would be a mistake in all but the most obvious cases of wrongdoing on the behalf of the interrogator to pick any type of interview as the sole culprit for incorrect police procedure.

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