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Anatomy of the bait question in interviews


The bait question is a non-accusatory question in which the possible existence of incriminating evidence is implied for the purpose of enticing the subject to change or consider changing his original statements. The bait question may be based on real or fictitious evidence.

A subject denies stealing a woman’s purse from the local library at 4:00 p.m. The subject acknowledges that he was at the library during the day but claims that he left at about 2:00 p.m. At 5:00 p.m., the subject walks past the library and is stopped for questioning by the police based on the fact that he very closely resembled the description of the individual whom the victim had seen in the immediate area when her purse was stolen. The bait dialogue would be as follows:

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