In light of recent CIA revelations the BPS digest has published an interesting research study that shows interrogation techniques that build rapport are more successful than torture. The study by Jane Goodman-Delahunty et al. (2014) involved interviewing 34 interrogators and 30 detainees, most of whom were suspected terrorists. Both interrogators and detainees were asked to recall a specific interrogation session and describe what happened and whether a confession had been made. Confessions were four times more likely when interrogators took a neutral and respectful stance and when detainees were interrogated in comfortable physical settings.
Why do people think that punishment is the best way to get people to change? This study underlines the importance of psychological evidence in demonstrating what for some people would be a counterintuitive finding.