Cognitive Interviewing is one of the most highly researched methods of investigative interviewing, drawing international support from the academic community as well as investigators within the law enforcement and security fields. This course uses videos, presentations, discussions, and real-world activities to teach cognitive interviewing skills, and students who complete the course will be able to employ cognitive interviewing techniques in a variety of law enforcement and security applications. We’ll start the course by examining the basics of a cognitive interview and observing an interview case study. Next, we’ll analyze the mechanics of a cognitive interview and explore essential interview elements such as setting, timing, and victimization. From there, we’ll learn how memory impacts cognition, explore the strengths and weaknesses of human memory, and gain insight into how individuals process events and how we can identify deceptive or unreliable information. After exploring memory, we’ll delve into questioning techniques and cover areas such as rapport, active listening, personalizing, open questioning, synchrony, and more. Finally, through various assignments, we’ll apply course information in real-world situations, hone our skills, and become competent cognitive interviews through trial and application. At the conclusion of this class, students will be able to:

  • Understand how human memory works
  • Use techniques to enhance memory and recall from victims and witnesses
  • Identify deceptive and unreliable information in interviews
  • Gather accurate facts
  • Distinguish between information coming from memory and information that is fabricated
  • Conduct cognitive interviews in a variety of contexts

This training will develop essential skills for patrol, first responders, and investigators. Detectives working “cold cases” may also find these skills helpful as memory can degrade over time.