The (in)authenticity of simulated talk: comparing role-played and actual interaction and the implications for communication training

2013-10-04T10:48:45Z (GMT) by Elizabeth Stokoe
How authentic is simulated, or role-played, interaction, of the kind produced in communication training contexts? The article addresses this question by comparing actual and role-played police investigative interviews. Both types of interviews were recorded by the police: real ones to fulfill British legal requirements and training ones to maximize the authenticity of the training experience. Interview openings were examined using conversation analysis. Officers must adhere to Police and Criminal Evidence Act (2008) guidelines, turning them into spoken actions. The analyses revealed that while, in gross terms, officers in real and simulated interviews opened interviews by formulating the same actions (e.g., identifying copresent parties), differences were observable in their design and organization. In simulations, actions were more elaborate or exaggerated; that is, they were made interactionally visible and “assessable.” Furthermore, some actions were only present in simulations. Implications for the efficacy of role-play methods for training and assessing communication are discussed.