The overarching goal of the ALERT Lab is to use psychological science to make improvements in law enforcement procedures, with a specific focus on investigative interviewing. Below are listed the main programs of research currently active in the lab.
Generation and Assessment of Alibis
An initial step in many law enforcement investigations is to ask potential suspects to provide an account of their whereabouts during the time the crime took place (i.e., provide an alibi). The ability of investigators to assess the veracity of alibis effectively is crucial to resolving cases successfully and avoiding miscarriages of justice. Research within the ALERT Lab is measuring various aspects of the alibi assessment process, as well as assessing the ability of innocent suspects to generate believable alibis.
Keeping, Z., Eastwood, J., Lively, C. J. (2017). Don’t stop believing: The relative impact of internal alibi details on judgments of veracity. Psychology, Crime and Law, 23, 899-913.
Eastwood, J., Snook, B., & Au, D. (2016). Safety in numbers: A policy capturing study of the alibi assessment process. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30, 260-269.
Improving Investigative Interviewing Procedures
The ability to gather detailed and accurate accounts from interviewees is vital for the successful resolution of law enforcement investigations. Investigators are in need of interviewing tactics that are both science-based and ethical. Research within the ALERT Lab is assessing the effectiveness of various interviewing procedures in increasing the amount and quality of recall from interviewees
Eastwood, J., Snook, B., & Luther, K. (2019). Establishing the most effective way to deliver the sketch procedure to enhance interviewee free recall. Psychology, Crime & Law, 25, 482-493.
Snook, B., Eastwood, J. & Barron, T. (2014). The next stage in the evolution of interrogations: The PEACE model. Canadian Criminal Law Review, 18, 219-239.
Comprehension and Utilization of Interrogation Rights
Individuals in Canada that are detained by the police and facing an interrogation are afforded several legal rights for their protection. Legislation and case law has dictated that detainees must understand these rights fully in order for any subsequent disclosure to be admissible in court - meaning that comprehension of interrogation rights is important both for detainees and police organizations. Research within the ALERT Lab is identifying ways to increase the comprehensibility of interrogation rights.
Eastwood, J., Snook, B., & Luther, K. (2015). Measuring the reading complexity and oral comprehension of Canadian youth waiver forms. Crime & Delinquency, 61, 798-828.
Eastwood, J., & Snook, B. (2012). The effect of listenability factors on the comprehension of police cautions. Law and Human Behavior, 36, 177-183.