Perspective More than Matters in Videotaping Interrogations

It’s no secret that where you sit makes all the difference when it comes to witnessing an event. The same is true when it comes to video recording of interrogations. What private investigators often are aware of (but the public not so much) is how the placement of the camera and positioning of suspects and interrogators can have a huge effect on the viewer and how he or she interprets everything from their perception of voluntariness to guilt.

Learn more about camera perspective bias and how to avoid it in your interrogation rooms from iRecord.

Studies in which researchers have used evaluations to measure how people respond to videotaped confessions have revealed significant results.

The three camera perspective biases that can be used include:

  • Suspect-focus: the front of the suspect waist up and back of the detective’s head and shoulders are visible
  • Detective-focus: the front of the detective and back of the suspect are visible
  • Equal-focus: profiles of both the suspect and the detective are equally visible

What is the impact of camera manipulation?

Here was what a 1992 study The Potential for Bias in Videotaped Confessions found:

  • Participant perception of voluntariness and coercion of the confession were impacted
  • Videotaped confessions in the suspect-focus view resulted in perception of greater voluntariness, especially when compared to results collected from audiotaped or transcribed interviews.
  • Equal-focus videotapes produced judgments that were consistent with those from audiotapes and transcripts.
  • Research shows that the camera perspective can influence how the outside viewer perceives voluntariness as well as coercion and even in some cases, guilt!

To read more about camera perspective, check out the following two studies:

Accountability and the Camera Perspective Bias in Videotaped Confessions

Further Evidence of a Robust Point-of-View Bias in Videotaped Confessions

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