DOI: 10.1002/acp.4156 ISSN: 0888-4080

I helped the interviewer and I liked it: Rapport building and benevolence transfer

Jillian E. Peek, Rolando N. Carol, Jacqueline R. Evans, Clarissa J. Arms‐Chavez, Pamela Tidwell
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


Rapport building is a widely recommended investigative technique that sometimes improves eyewitness recall. However, a clear understanding of how rapport impacts witness recall is lacking. We explored benevolence as a mediator between rapport and eyewitness recall while fixing the pre‐interview interaction to 3 min. Further, we explored whether rapport would lead to benevolence transferring to a subsequent unrelated task. A total of 109 participants viewed a mock crime and were interviewed about the crime either with or without rapport. Afterward, participants were asked to volunteer for a future research opportunity. Results indicated that rapport participants reported higher benevolence than control participants. Additionally, rapport participants volunteered to help the investigator more often than control participants. Exploratory factor analysis extracted two “benevolence” factors: (1) Effortful informativeness and (2) positive and rewarding. Our findings have implications for real‐world investigators who may appeal to witnesses' desire to be helpful and their resultant sense of satisfaction.

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