Date of Award

Spring 2011

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Blickensderfer, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Albert Bouquet, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Jim Ramsay, Ph.D.


The aim of this research was to examine how the introduction of a third party impacts interviewee rapport in an investigative setting. Prior to this research it has been speculated that a "third person in the communications loop" during an investigative interview may negatively impact critical components of the collection process, including the establishment of rapport. There are several advantages to the approach offered. First, it addresses the current concern of how the use of interpreters affects the quality, quantity, and nature of information collected from human sources. Second, it examines the construct of rapport, a core aspect of the interview process that has been identified as potentially problematic when using an interpreter, but is little understood. Third, it attempts to integrate current perspectives on building and assessing rapport in an investigative context. Based on the results of this study, rapport, as conceptualized by the three component model of mutual attentiveness, positivity, and coordination, was not negatively impacted by the presence of a third party in an investigative context. The importance of these results is that it suggests that the addition of a third party may not impact the major psychological processes in the interviewing context. This is practically important because many law enforcement interviews use multiple interviewers and this suggests that this practice will not have a negative effect on rapport in the interview. Additionally, the findings indicate that the anecdotal concern that "three is a crowd" and that the addition of a third part may impact rapport is unfounded.