What this research tells us is not only should we abandon the idea that no innocent person in their right mind would confess to a crime, but that in some situations, it is rational—or at least extremely understandable—to falsely confess. Saul Kassin is a distinguished professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Validate Their Feelings. Psychology Today © 2020 Sussex Publishers, LLC. After each computer crashed, the student was then accused of pressing the “Alt” key. But it's not always the end of the story. Bem (1966) published an empirical article in theJournal of Personality and Social Psychologyentitled “Inducing belief in false confessions” in which he offered a self-perception analysis in the laboratory of how saying (induced confession)canleadtobelieving(feelingsofguilt).Thefollowingyear,Zimbardo (1967) published a social–psychological analysis of the police interrogation process in the inaugural issue … Kassin notes that detectives are trained to believe they can make accurate judgments about a suspect's truthfulness, though "there's a level of overconfidence in the initial judgment, and they begin the interrogation with a presumption of guilt." The Chicago Tribune False confessions were studied using subjects in experiment settings that mirrored a naturalistic setting. Persuaded false confessions tend to result from long and intense interrogations that may include: Studies have shown that we may be much more susceptible to making a persuaded false confession than we realize. What the students did not know was that each computer was already pre-programmed to crash, without the “Alt” key being pressed. After distinguishing between voluntary, compliant, and internalized false confessions, this article suggests that a sequence of three processes is responsible for false confessions and their adverse consequences. ( The Psychology of False Confessions. Interrogators may suggest that a suspect has repressed the memory. Use of and access to this blog or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the user or browser. Gudjonsson's suggestibility scale is used by courts around the world to evaluate self-incriminating statements. Some students internalized their (false) guilt so deeply that they even came up with excuses for hitting the “Alt” key, such as “I hit the wrong key with the side of my hand.”. They then offer false evidence to fill in the gaps. The most common explanation given after the fact is that suspects "just wanted to go home.". Even though the suspect knows that he did not commit the crime, the entire trial and evidentiary process might be so foreign and frightening to him that he believes the interrogator. Voluntary False Confessions . A confession is the ideal civic solution: The perpetrator takes responsibility, and the public sleeps soundly. Governor George Ryan commuted the sentences of Illinois' 150 death-row inmates to life in prison, due in part to concern about the role of false confessions in securing wrongful convictions. False confessions undermine justice, causing innocent people to get convicted for crimes they did not commit. Compliant false confessions may be obtained through physical pressure (for example, torture) but can also be elicited through psychological pressure. The Central Park jogger case involves clearly coerced-compliant false confessions. The suspects in the Central Park case each spent between 14 and 30 hours under interrogation. ", Self-incriminating statements are often the result of a kind of cost-benefit analysis. The Psychology of False Confessions and Implanted Memories Implanting memories is not just the stuff of Inception. The Psychology of False Confessions: Forty Years of Science and Practice by Gisli H. Gudjonsson is a comprehensive and up-to-date compilation of the scientific research into the complexities surrounding one of the most intriguing law-related phenomena, namely, falsely confessing to … 19+ million members; 135+ million publications; 700k+ research projects; Join for free. It becomes rational under the circumstances," says Saul Kassin, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Williams College in Massachusetts. Crimes they did not know was that each computer crashed, the was! They did not commit psychological or psychiatric disorders of the suspects in Central! 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