The influence of room spaciousness on investigative interviews

Katherine Hoogesteyn*, Ewout Meijer, Aldert Vrij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose The quality of information obtained from investigative interviews largely relies on the quality of communication between the interviewee and interviewer. One aspect of the communication process that has yet to be well examined is the environment in which the interviews take place. The present study examined the influence of physical spaciousness, manipulated as room size and interpersonal sitting distance between interviewer and interviewee on the disclosure of crime-related information, as well as perceptions of rapport and overall interview experience. Methods Participants engaged in a virtual reality scenario depicting a crime and were interviewed as suspects in either a larger or smaller room, at a closer or larger distance. Results Results showed no links between room size and sitting distance on disclosure rates. However, an exploratory analysis did reveal that participants interviewed in the larger room reported more positive interview experience in terms of spaciousness, and consequently higher perceptions of rapport, compared to those interviewed in the small room. Conclusions We found evidence against an influence of room size and interpersonal distance on disclosure. Still, our study does provide initial evidence that manipulating room size in an interview context could positively impact rapport-building.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalLegal and Criminological Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • investigative interviewing
  • room spaciousness
  • context manipulation
  • disclosure
  • rapport-building

Cite this