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Les adolescents en situation de témoignage oculaire : d’observations de terrain à l’étude d’un protocole d’audition judiciaire en laboratoire

Abstract : The goal of this thesis was to provide recommendations to any practitioner involved in the justice system to interview adolescent witnesses and/or victims, a population little studied in laboratory analogue contexts. To do so, five studies were conducted. The first two studies were aimed at establishing an inventory of the young French investigators’ witness interview practices. We observed that adolescents are a specific population, in particular regarding the use of suggestive questions. This type of questions increased right after the adolescents had just developed a statement, which was not the case with younger children. This result might reveal that, during investigative interviews with children and adolescents, the investigators have different aims depending on the age of the young witness (Study 1). However, international recommendations strongly discourage the use of suggestions because of immediate and delayed memory biases that may occur. Secondly, we have shown that adolescents represent most of the under legal age witnesses and/or victims in French cases, and that investigators generally perceived them as liars and as easily ashamed (Study 2). A study conducted with military police officers who previously had training in the use of structured interview techniques (vs. untrained officers; Study 3) showed that their use of suggestive questions were related to the belief that suggestive prompts could help the young witness and/or victim retrieve and recall information, but also (and most importantly) allow the investigation to move forward. This was especially observed with untrained military police officers. To deal with these inappropriate practices, we investigated the efficiency of two modified versions of the cognitive interview (MCI). This interview protocol is based on an open (rather than closed or suggestive) questioning style, and proposes effective retrieval strategies. Relying on techniques that promote memory retrieval and recall of information, it could then enhance the adolescents’ statements’ reliability, for these to be used during the investigation. We therefore tested a mnemonic called ‘guided peripheral focus’ (Study 4), which showed its benefits. Indeed, we observed an increase in the recall of correct information (vs. structured interview; SI). However, this was accompanied by an increase in errors. A similar pattern was observed with a shortened version of the MCI (vs. SI) used for repeated events (vs. single event; Study 5). In addition, this last study showed an increase in confabulations with the MCI (compared to a SI, and irrespective of the frequency of the event), but also in confusions between the different events experienced by some of the adolescents. However, these increases in erroneous details did not lead to a drop in the accuracy rate in either study. The results of the five studies will be discussed in regards with the scientific literature, and recommendations to help justice practitioners conduct their adolescent witness and/or victim interviews as appropriately as possible will be provided
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Olivier Dodier. Les adolescents en situation de témoignage oculaire : d’observations de terrain à l’étude d’un protocole d’audition judiciaire en laboratoire. Psychologie. Université Clermont Auvergne, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017CLFAL019⟩. ⟨tel-01787138⟩

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