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Securing the admissibility of witness statements: estimating the complexity and comprehension of Canadian 'KGB warnings'

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/09/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Issue number3
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)166-175
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/04/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The reading complexity of a sample of Canadian "KGB warnings" was assessed, along with the oral comprehension of one of those warnings. In Study 1, the complexity of 29 warnings was assessed using five readability measures. Results showed that the warnings are lengthy, are written at a high-grade level, contain complex sentences, and contain words used infrequently in our everyday language. In Study 2, university students (N = 80) viewed a video of an individual reading the warning aloud in its entirety (Full) or in four sections (Chunked), and comprehension was assessed using recall and recognition measures. Results showed that, when collapsed across the two conditions, participants tended to comprehend less than half of the contents of the warning. Presenting the warning in chunks produced higher levels of comprehension. The likelihood of witnesses understanding the content and consequences of the KGB warning are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)