A Mega-Analysis of the Effects of Feedback on the Quality of Simulated Child Sexual Abuse Interviews with Avatars

F. Pompedda, Yikang Zhang*, S. Haginoya, P. Santtila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study aimed to test the effectiveness of giving feedback on simulated avatar interview training (Avatar Training) across different experiments and participant groups and to explore the effect of professional training and parenting experience by conducting a mega-analysis of previous studies. A total of 2,208 interviews containing 39,950 recommended and 36,622 non-recommended questions from 394 participants including European and Japanese students, psychologists, and police officers from nine studies were included in the mega-analysis. Experimental conditions were dummy-coded, and all dependent variables were coded in the same way as in the previously published studies. Professional experience and parenting experience were coded as dichotomous variables and used in moderation analyses. Linear mixed effects analyses demonstrated robust effects of feedback on increasing recommended questions and decreasing non-recommended questions, improving quality of details elicited from the avatar, and reaching a correct conclusion regarding the suspected abuse. Round-wise comparisons in the interviews involving feedback showed a continued increase of recommended questions and a continued decrease of non-recommended questions. Those with (vs. without) professional and parenting experience improved faster in the feedback group. These findings provide strong support for the efficacy of Avatar Training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-498
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Child sexual abuse (CSA)
  • Investigative interviewing
  • Simulation training
  • Feedback
  • Serious gaming

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