New Master Thesis Assignments

Developing adaptive interviewing skills


The general literature on investigative interviewing points to rapport (i.e., a positive interview atmosphere) as the most critical component of an effective interview. However, there is still little consensus on what behavior actually leads to rapport and how to best measure and evaluate it. Some researchers have made effortful attempts to focus on certain aspects of rapport, such as verbal rapport (Alison et al., 2013), and distinguish rapport from related constructs, such as trust (Oleszkiewicz, Atkinson, Meissner, & Kleinman, 2018). The current project adds to this research agenda, and specifically aims to test interviewer adaptability (i.e., being flexible and open-minded when pursuing information objectives) during investigative interviews.

Type of research

To investigate the efficacy of adaptive interview skills, the current project will draw on two broader methodological aims: On the one hand, we need to review related literature (e.g., rapport, trust, resistance, adaptability) to conceptualize and operationalize adaptability in the interview context. On the other hand, we need to experimentally evaluate the efficacy of adaptability by running a series of comparative behavioral tests. Hence, the current project involves both descriptive research and experimental testing.


Adaptability; rapport; trust; interviewing; investigative interviewing


Klein, Hintze, & Saab (2013) Thinking inside the box: The Shadowbox method for cognitive skill development. International conference on naturalistic decision making, 121-124.

McFarland, Challagalla, & Shervani (2006). Influence tactics for adaptive selling. Journal of Marketing, 70, 103-117.

Meissner, Surmon-Böhr, Oleszkiewicz, & Alison (2017). Developing an evidence-based perspective on interrogation: A review of the US government’s high-value detainee interrogation group research program. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 23, 438-457.

Narchet, Meissner, & Russano (2011). Modeling the influence of investigator bias on the elicitation of true and false confessions. Law and Human Behavior, 35, 452-465.


Please contact Simon Oleszkiewicz ( if you are interested in this assignment.