High Strangeness: Cognitive Interviewing, MUFON Style

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cognitive Interviewing, MUFON Style

I've gotten to a really entertaining chapter of the MUFON Field Investigator's Manual dealing with "Cognitive Interviewing." This is a method of interviewing a UFO witness that elicits almost as much accurate information from an interview as you could get if you hypnotized the witness.

What makes it to entertaining is the fact that, no matter how hard the MUFONers try to portray their methodology as being rigidly scientific and objective, they always, always give themselves away... These guys aren't really interested in trajectories and elevations and weather conditions; they want to see aliens! That's what it's all about. That and nothing else.

To wit: One of the four elements of Cognitive Interviewing involves asking the witness to recount the events in a different order than from beginning to end. You could ask them to recount the events from end to beginning, for instance, or from middle to end and back to beginning, or from beginning to end leaving out the middle and going back to it at the end. I see a potential here for lots of confusion, but never mind. The key point is that the author provides a few examples of questions designed to break up the witness' train of thought, like "Describe everything about the scene" and "Is there anything else that you remember?" All very rational and scientific-like, right? But then there's this: "What is going on before the door of the UFO opens?"

Excuse me? The UFO has a door now? And it's opening? How did we get there? Because we're all about being taken seriously, right?

Don't get me wrong. I love asking about things like UFO doors opening. I would love to see a UFO with an actual door that actually opened! Who wouldn't? And even if I couldn't see it myself, I'd sure as hell love to interview someone who had seen it! No, I dig this line of questioning; it's the context that's so ridiculous...

It gets better in the next section, in which the author describes the technique of "Changing Perspective." With this technique, the MUFON Field Investigator asks the witness to envision the incident from a completely different point of view, like from up in the sky or from the other side of the UFO or from the point of view of someone else who also witnessed the event. Makes a lot of sense to me. I can see how this would be very effective in eliciting information from the witness.

Unless you follow the author's suggestion that you ask the witness to describe the incident from the point-of-view of his or her dog. Seems kind of counterproductive to me to ask the witness to imagine being collared and leashed and two feet off the ground,and I'm not sure what I would write down if the witness's answer was something like "Bark, bark! Woof!" But, oh, that's not a problem, because after you ask the witness what they would have seen differently if they had been their dog, the author offers a suggested reply from the dog/person: "I wouldn't have seen the emblem on the alien's uniform."

Game up, MUFON. You're not kidding anyone.

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