In This Article False and Coerced Confessions

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • The Psychology of False and Coerced Confessions
  • Interrogation Tactics
  • Types of Confessions
  • Interrogation Training
  • Laboratory Studies
  • Field and Aggregrated Case Studies
  • Deception Detection
  • Miranda
  • Confirmation Bias
  • Interrogation Law
  • Confessions in the Courtroom
  • Confession Experts in the Courtroom
  • Perceptions and Beliefs about Confessions
  • Videotaping Interrogations
  • Inquisitorial Interviewing
  • Military Interrogations and Torture

Criminology False and Coerced Confessions
by
Robert J. Norris, Allison Redlich
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 April 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0087

Introduction

In the past two decades, the scholarly interest in and literature on false and coerced confessions has grown tremendously. In large part, this growth is due to the uncovering of hundreds of factually innocent persons wrongly convicted because of false confessions. False confessions are statements made inside or outside the interrogation context that implicate the individual in a crime that he or she did not commit. False confessions can be made voluntarily or through coercion. Coerced confessions are statements that may be true or false but were not made by one’s own free will. In the United States, confessions are only admissible if they were made voluntarily. Most of the extant research has focused on false, as opposed to coerced, confessions. However, in understanding why an innocent person would claim responsibility for a crime she or he did not commit, it is also possible to understand why a guilty person would do so in the face of coercive interrogation tactics. False and coerced confessions have been studied using a variety of methodologies. The research has not only focused on how these confessions come about but also on related topics, such as their weight in the courtroom, the ability to recognize them, and reforms designed to reduce their occurrence.

General Overviews

The number of general overviews of police interrogation and confessions continues to amass. The single-authored book by Leo 2008 provides a comprehensive overview focusing on US practices and policies. Lassiter 2004 and Lassiter and Meissner 2010 cover a variety of relevant topics written by leaders in the field. Ofshe and Leo 1997 explain the decision to confess for guilty and innocent suspects. The article by Kassin, et al. 2010 represents a scientific consensus paper on police-induced confessions, culminating in suggested reforms for prevention. Wakefield and Underwager 1998 discuss coerced as well as false confessions.

  • Kassin, Saul M., Steven Drizin, Thomas Grisso, Gisli H. Gudjonsson, Richard A. Leo, and Allison D. Redlich. 2010. Police-induced confessions: Risk factors and recommendations. Law and Human Behavior 34:3–38.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10979-009-9188-6E-mail Citation »

    This scientific “white” paper was sponsored and approved by the American Psychology Law Society (Division 41 of American Psychological Association). It provides a history of confession law in the United States and focuses on police-induced true and false confessions. The paper ends with recommendations to prevent false confessions.

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    • Lassiter, G. Daniel, ed. 2004. Interrogations, confessions, and entrapment. New York: Kluwer Academic.

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      Provides an excellent overview of many of the topics relevant to interrogations and confessions. Chapter topics include a history of US interrogation practices, confirmation bias, vulnerable populations, and expert testimony.

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      • Lassiter, G. Daniel, and Christian A. Meissner, eds. 2010. Police interrogations and false confessions: Current research, practice, and policy recommendations. Washington, DC: APA.

        DOI: 10.1037/12085-000E-mail Citation »

        The result of a two-day conference on interrogations, includes chapters from leaders in the field. The topics cover the majority of relevant aspects, including lie detection, interrogation of juveniles, videotaping, and Miranda.

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        • Leo, Richard A. 2008. Police interrogation and American justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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          A comprehensive overview of police interrogation in the United States, providing an excellent historical description of third-degree interrogation tactics to modern-day psychological techniques. In addition, Leo explains how false confessions and miscarriages of justice can arise. This book is appropriate for general audiences interested in the topic.

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          • Wakefield, H., and R. Underwager. 1998. Coerced or nonvoluntary confessions. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 16:423–440.

            DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0798(199823)16:4<423::AID-BSL319>3.0.CO;2-2E-mail Citation »

            Provides a succinct overview of confession admissibility, expert testimony, and relations between suggestibility and nonvoluntary confessions. The authors provide four illustrative examples of coerced and false confessions.

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            The Psychology of False and Coerced Confessions

            A main question concerning false confessions is how they occur. Much of the research conducted on interrogations and confessions has been done by psychologists who have offered psychological explanations. The articles by Conti 1999, Kassin 2005 and Ofshe and Leo 1997 examine the rationales behind why some people will offer admissions to crimes they did not commit. The comprehensive book by Gudjonsson 2003 goes into extensive detail, providing case examples and state-of-the-art research. Kassin 2005 also explains how innocence itself is a risk factor for false confession.

            • Conti, R. P. 1999. The psychology of false confessions. The Journal of Credibility Assessment and Witness Psychology 2:14–36.

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              Conti provides an overview of false confessions, including their history, interrogation methods, and several high-profile cases. He then discusses the different types of false confessions and some psychological factors that might influence an innocent suspect to falsely incriminate himself.

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              • Gudjonsson, Gisli H. 2003. The psychology of interrogations and confessions: A handbook. Chichester, UK: Wiley.

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                Professor Gisli Gudjonsson is one of the most prolific interrogation researchers. This comprehensive text builds on his 1992 book, The Psychology of Interrogations, Confessions, and Testimony. Provides an overview of the current research on interrogation and confession, as well as analyses of numerous anecdotal false confession cases. Could be used as a graduate text.

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                • Kassin, Saul M. 2005. On the psychology of confessions: Does innocence put innocents at risk? American Psychologist 60:215–228.

                  DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.60.3.215E-mail Citation »

                  Kassin discusses the ironic hypothesis that innocence places suspects at risk for false confession during police interrogation. He supports his hypothesis with research indicating that innocents are more likely to waive their rights and that innocence serves to increase the efforts of interrogators to obtain confessions.

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                  • Ofshe, R. J., and R. A. Leo. 1997. The social psychology of police interrogation: The theory and classification of true and false confessions. Studies in Law, Politics, & Society 16:189–251.

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                    This seminal work develops a model for understanding confessions. The authors discuss the influential techniques used by interrogators and the decision-making process of both guilty and innocent suspects. Ofshe and Leo also develop a classification system for categorizing different types of false confessions.

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                    Interrogation Tactics

                    There are a number of specific interrogation tactics that have been researched. The studies by King and Snook 2009 and Pearse and Gudjonsson 1999 examine and attempt to classify the tactics used in actual interrogations. In contrast, the studies by Blagrove 1996 and Kassin and Kiechel 1996 focus on specific techniques, namely sleep deprivation and the presentation of false evidence, respectively. Smith, et al. 2009 also focuses on a specific technique used in Canada called the “Mr. Big” technique. Redlich and Meissner 2009 provides a more general overview of modern-day US tactics, emphasizing the lack of science behind their development and use.

                    • Blagrove, Mark. 1996. Effects of sleep deprivation on interrogative suggestibility. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 2:48–59.

                      DOI: 10.1037/1076-898X.2.1.48E-mail Citation »

                      Using standardized measures, this study examined the effects of sleep deprivation on suggestibility, clear-headedness, confidence, and other cognitive abilities. Blagrove argues that police interrogation should not occur if the suspect has been deprived of sleep.

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                      • Kassin, Saul M., and Katherine L. Kiechel. 1996. The social psychology of false confessions: Compliance, internalization, and confabulation. Psychological Science 7:125–128.

                        DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.1996.tb00344.xE-mail Citation »

                        Examines the impact of the presentation of false evidence on young adults’ willingness to falsely confess, internalize guilt, and confabulate details. Presenting false evidence increases the likelihood of the three dependent variables.

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                        • King, Lesley, and Brent Snook. 2009. Peering inside a Canadian interrogation room: An examination of the Reid model of interrogation, influence tactics, and coercive strategies. Criminal Justice and Behavior 36:674–694.

                          DOI: 10.1177/0093854809335142E-mail Citation »

                          An analysis of forty-four video-recorded police interrogations. King and Snook assessed the tactics used in light of the Reid model, and examined the association between tactics used and confessions.

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                          • Pearse, John, and Gisli H. Gudjonsson. 1999. Measuring influential police interviewing tactics: A factor analytic approach. Legal and Criminological Psychology 4:221–238.

                            DOI: 10.1348/135532599167860E-mail Citation »

                            Uses a factor analysis to examine police interviews in eighteen serious criminal cases. The authors assess the number and types of tactics used by police to elicit confessions from resistant suspects.

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                            • Redlich, Allison D., and Christian A. Meissner. 2009. Techniques and controversies on the interrogation of suspects: The artful practice versus the scientific study. In Psychological science in the courtroom: Controversies and consensus. Edited by Jennifer L. Skeem, Kevin S. Douglas, and Scott O. Lilienfeld, 124–148. New York: Guilford.

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                              A book chapter focusing presumption of guilt, deception detection, and modern-day interrogation techniques. The authors address techniques that are and are not scientifically supported and those in need of more research.

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                              • Smith, Steven M., Veronica Stinson, and Marc W. Patry. 2009. Using the “Mr. Big” technique to elicit confessions: Successful innovation or dangerous development in the Canadian legal system? Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 15:168–193.

                                DOI: 10.1037/a0016962E-mail Citation »

                                Provides an overview of the “Mr. Big” interrogation technique used by Canadian police, discusses relevant legal cases, examines Canadian practices in relation to other jurisdictions, and reviews some scientific evidence relevant to the “Mr. Big” technique. Recommendations for practice and directions for future research are discussed.

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                                Types of Confessions

                                The first time in modern history that false confessions were categorized was in Kassin and Wrightsman 1985. They defined three types: voluntary, compliant, and internalized. Since then, these three original categories have been critiqued and expanded by Ofshe and Leo 1997, McCann 1998, and Gudjonsson 2003. Gudjonsson 2003 also provides detailed case examples of false-confession types. Kassin 2007 is a chapter devoted to the internalized false-confession type.

                                • Gudjonsson, Gisli H. 2003. The psychology of false confessions: Case examples. In The psychology of interrogations and confessions: A handbook. Edited by Gisli H. Gudjonsson, 217–243. Chichester, UK: Wiley.

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                                  Gudjonsson provides several case examples of different types of false confession, which include voluntary, pressured-compliant, and pressured-internalized.

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                                  • Kassin, Saul M. 2007. Internalized false confessions. In The handbook of eyewitness psychology. Edited by Michael P. Toglia, J. Don Read, David F. Ross, and R. C. L. Lindsey, 175–192. London: Psychology Press.

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                                    An overview of one specific type of false confession. Kassin discusses the interrogation tactics that lead to such confessions, the process of internalization, and reviews laboratory studies that have examined such situations. He also discusses potential solutions.

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                                    • Kassin, Saul M., and Lawrence S. Wrightsman. 1985. Confession evidence. In The psychology of evidence and trial procedure. Edited by Saul Kassin and Lawrence Wrightsman, 67–94. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE.

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                                      The first publication delineating the now well-known trichotomy of false confessions: voluntary, coerced-compliant, and coerced-internalized. Using information known at the time, the authors offer psychological perspectives to explain each type.

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                                      • McCann, Joseph, T. 1998. A conceptual framework for identifying various types of confessions. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 16:441–453.

                                        DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0798(199823)16:4<441::AID-BSL320>3.0.CO;2-WE-mail Citation »

                                        Attempts to expand upon confession frameworks by considering retractions, veracity, legal culpability, and coercion. The author introduces a new subtype of false confession, labeled “coerced-reactive” type.

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                                        • Ofshe, Richard J., and Richard A. Leo. 1997. The social psychology of police interrogation: The theory and classification of true and false confessions. Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 16:189–251.

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                                          A classic article that provides a decision model of how and why guilty and innocent suspects may shift from denial to admission in the interrogation context. The authors also develop a category system for classifying confessions that takes into account whether an interrogation was voluntary or not, reliability, and guilt/innocence.

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                                          Interrogation Training

                                          The most-often cited interrogation technique is called the “Reid Technique.” The manual, now in its fourth edition is authored by Inbau, et al. 2001; this manual is a comprehensive account of the Reid Technique. More up-to-date information about the Reid Technique can also be found at their website, The Reid Technique. Scientists have also examined the influence of training on relevant interview and interrogation techniques. Hartwig, et al. 2006 and Kassin and Fong 1999 researched the effects of training on the ability to detect deception on undergraduate and police subjects.

                                          • Hartwig, Maria, Par Anders Granhag, Leif A. Stromwall, and Ola Kronkvist. 2006. Strategic use of evidence during police interviews: When training to detect deception works. Law and Human Behavior 30:603–619.

                                            DOI: 10.1007/s10979-006-9053-9E-mail Citation »

                                            Police trainees were either trained or not trained in strategically using evidence when interviewing mock suspects. The authors assessed whether the strategies used by the police and the suspects’ counterstrategies differed based on interviewer training.

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                                            • Inbau, Fred E., John W. Reid, Joseph P. Buckley, and Brian C. Jayne. 2001. Criminal interrogations and confessions. 4th ed. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen.

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                                              The “bible” of police interrogation training manuals. Now in its fourth edition, this is the reference for the Reid Interrogation Technique. The Reid Technique is the most well-known model of interrogation. The manual describes the nine-step interrogation process and the distinction between interviews and interrogations.

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                                              • Kassin, Saul M., and Christina T. Fong. 1999. “I’m innocent!”: Effects of training on judgments of truth and deception in the interrogation room. Law and Human Behavior 23:499–516.

                                                DOI: 10.1023/A:1022330011811E-mail Citation »

                                                A study assessing the ability of people to distinguish between true and false denials in criminal interrogations. The authors examined the effects of training in the use of verbal and nonverbal cues on individual’s abilities to distinguish between truth and deception.

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                                                • The Reid Technique.

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                                                  A website developed and maintained by John E. Reid and Associates, the company responsible for the Reid Technique. The website has information on their training services as well as critiques of research and current legal decisions.

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                                                  Laboratory Studies

                                                  The selection of studies in this section centers on methodologies used to study interrogation in the laboratory. Kassin and Kiechel 1996 is one of the earliest studies to develop a useful paradigm, which has been called the “ALT key” paradigm or the “computer crash” paradigm. Since then, the ALT key paradigm has been used to test additional hypotheses and improved upon. Klaver, et al. 2008 demonstrates how plausibility of hitting the “wrong” computer key can impact false confession rates. Russano, et al. 2005 improved upon the original Kassin and Kiechel paradigm by eliminating the possibility of confusion with the “cheating” paradigm. Others, including Hartwig, et al. 2007, Hasel and Kassin 2009 and Nash and Wade 2009, have developed new and innovative methods to study false confessions. Finally, Meissner, et al. 2010 explains the importance of laboratory research in studying the phenomenon of false confessions.

                                                  • Hartwig, Maria, Par Anders Granhag, and Leif Stromwall. 2007. Guilty and innocent suspects’ strategies during a police interrogation. Psychology, Crime and Law 13:213–227.

                                                    DOI: 10.1080/10683160600750264E-mail Citation »

                                                    A laboratory study of strategies used by guilty and innocent suspects during interrogation. Mock-suspects were interrogated by police trainees. The authors assessed suspects’ deception strategies, truth-telling, and their perceptions regarding interrogators’ beliefs about their guilt or innocence.

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                                                    • Hasel, Lisa E., and Saul M. Kassin. 2009. On the presumption of evidentiary independence: Can confessions corrupt eyewitness identifications? Psychological Science 20:122–126.

                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02262.xE-mail Citation »

                                                      An experiment assessing the effect of confession evidence on eyewitness identifications. After telling witnesses that certain lineup members had confessed, the authors examine how many changed their initial identification to match confessions and how many made an identification that they were previously unable to make.

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                                                      • Kassin, Saul M., and Katherine Kiechel. 1996. The social psychology of false confessions: Compliance, internalization, and confabulation. Psychological Science 7:125–128.

                                                        DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.1996.tb00344.xE-mail Citation »

                                                        Used a computer-crash experiment to examine the degree to which false incriminating evidence can lead innocent people to accept guilt and confess to something they did not do.

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                                                        • Klaver, Jessica R., Zina Lee, and Rose V. Gordon. 2008. Effects of personality, interrogation techniques and plausibility in an experimental false confession paradigm. Legal and Criminological Psychology 13:71–88.

                                                          DOI: 10.1348/135532507X193051E-mail Citation »

                                                          A study of false confession behavior. The authors examined the interactions between personality characteristics (compliance, self-esteem, control, and suggestibility), interrogation techniques (minimization and maximization), and the plausibility of the alleged transgression. Implications for false confessions are discussed.

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                                                          • Meissner, Christian A., Melissa B. Russano, and Fadia M. Narchet. 2010. The importance of a laboratory science for improving the diagnostic value of confession evidence. In Police interrogations and false confessions: Current research, practice, and police recommendations. Edited by G. Daniel Lassiter and Christian Meissner, 111–126. Washington, DC: APA.

                                                            DOI: 10.1037/12085-000E-mail Citation »

                                                            Provides an overview of the causes and consequences of false confessions, as well as potential corrective measures and theoretical models used to understand confessions. The authors provide an in-depth discussion of the utility of laboratory research for understanding the psychology of interrogations and confessions.

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                                                            • Nash, Robert A., and Kimberly A. Wade. 2009. Innocent but proven guilty: Eliciting internalized false confessions using doctored-video evidence. Applied Cognitive Psychology 23:624–637.

                                                              DOI: 10.1002/acp.1500E-mail Citation »

                                                              A study examining the effects of incriminating video evidence on false confessions. Subjects, accused of cheating on a computerized gambling task, were told that such evidence existed, and half were shown a fake video. The authors assessed internalization and confabulation of details among subjects.

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                                                              • Russano, Melissa B., Christian A. Meissner, Fadia M. Narchet, and Saul M. Kassin. 2005. Investigating true and false confessions within a novel experimental paradigm. Psychological Science 16:481–486.

                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.0956-7976.2005.01560.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                Using a unique paradigm where participants are accused of intentionally breaking an experimental rule, this study examines whether minimization techniques and offers of leniency affected confession rates among both guilty and innocent individuals.

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                                                                Field and Aggregrated Case Studies

                                                                In addition to laboratory studies, which offer scientific control, field and aggregated case studies of actual interrogations and false confessions are equally important. The studies by Baldwin 1993, Bull and Soukara 2010, and Leo 1996 offer important insight into the actual details of police interrogations. Drizin and Leo 2004 and Garrett 2010 are studies of proven false confessors. Leo and Ofshe 1998 examines proven false confessors as well as individuals they categorize as highly probable and probable false confessors. Cassell 1998 responds to Leo and Ofshe 1998, contesting their conclusions. Ofshe 1989 describes a telling case study of one false confessor. Scheck, et al. 2000 focuses on wrongful convictions more generally but discusses false confessions more specifically.

                                                                • Baldwin, John. 1993. Police interview techniques: Establishing truth or proof? British Journal of Criminology 33:325–352.

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                                                                  A study examining police interview techniques in England. The author analyzes audio and video tapes of six hundred police interviews with suspects in order to examine the how they are conducted.

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                                                                  • Bull, Ray, and Stavroula Soukara. 2010. Four studies of what really happens in police interviews. In Interrogations and confessions: Current research, practice, and policy. Edited by G. Daniel Lassiter and Christian A. Meissner, 81–95. Washington, DC: APA.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1037/12085-000E-mail Citation »

                                                                    A description of four studies examining what actually occurs in British police interviews. The authors categorize a variety of interrogation techniques and examine relations between techniques used and confession outcomes. One of the studies also examines the tactics used near the time of the confession.

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                                                                    • Cassell, P. G. 1998. Protecting the innocent from false confessions and lost confessions-and from Miranda. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 88:497–556.

                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/1144289E-mail Citation »

                                                                      A response to Leo and Ofshe 1998. Cassell presents the flipside of reforms designed to prevent the innocent from confessing: the confessions that may be lost from guilty suspects. Cassell critiques previous false confession research and discusses the costs and benefits of enacting reforms that might limit interrogations.

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                                                                      • Drizin, Steven A., and Richard A. Leo. 2004. The problem of false confessions in the post-DNA world. North Carolina Law Review 82:891–1007.

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                                                                        A comprehensive examination of 125 cases of proven false confessions. The authors discuss the descriptive data from the cases, both legal and demographic, as well as the role of the confession evidence in the trials. Drizin and Leo also discuss reforms that may reduce the number of false confessions.

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                                                                        • Garrett, Brandon. 2010. The substance of false confessions. Stanford Law Review 62:1051–1119.

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                                                                          Garrett completes a systematic analysis of thirty-four false confessions cases from the Innocence Project (that is, persons wrongly convicted and later exonerated via DNA). He analyzes how the false confessions came to be contaminated, thereby giving them the appearance of credibility. Appropriate for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.

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                                                                          • Leo, Richard A. 1996. Inside the interrogation room. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 86:266–303.

                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/1144028E-mail Citation »

                                                                            A landmark sociological study documenting interrogation procedures and outcomes. The author observed 122 live and 60 videotaped interrogations. He coded characteristics of the suspects and detectives, type of crime, and the number and type of interrogation techniques used. This study was among the earliest of the modern-day study of interrogations.

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                                                                            • Leo, Richard A., and Richard J. Ofshe. 1998. The consequences of false confessions: Deprivations of liberty and miscarriages of justice in the age of psychological interrogation. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 88:429–496.

                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/1144288E-mail Citation »

                                                                              A comprehensive overview of sixty cases of proven or probable false confessions. The authors examine details of the cases, focusing specifically on case outcomes and the magnitude of the harm faced by false confessors.

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                                                                              • Ofshe, Richard. 1989. Coerced confessions: The logic of seemingly irrational action. Cultic Studies Journal 6:1–15.

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                                                                                Uses a known false confession case to explain how vulnerable suspects may be manipulated into falsely confessing through the use of coercive interrogation tactics.

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                                                                                • Scheck, B., P. Neufeld, and J. Dwyer. 2000. Actual innocence: Five days to execution and other dispatches from the wrongly convicted. New York: Doubleday.

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                                                                                  A general study of wrongful convictions discovered through DNA testing. Of the exonerations discussed in the book, about one-fourth of them (23 percent) involved a false confession.

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                                                                                  Self-Report Studies

                                                                                  Another methodology used to study interrogations and confessions is through self-report. In this section, citations are provided for research using self-report methods of alleged confessors and of law enforcement.

                                                                                  Surveys of Confessors

                                                                                  Although self-report methods have limitations, there are also many benefits to obtaining the perceptions, beliefs, and experiences of alleged false confessors. Sigurdsson and Gudjonsson 1996 is one of the first studies to examine the self-reported prevalence of false confessions among a prison population. The later studies by Gudjonsson, et al. 2004, Gudjonsson, et al. 2009 and Redlich, et al. 2010 report on the prevalence of false confessions among vulnerable populations. Goldstein, et al. 2003 examine juveniles’ self-reports of their own likelihood of falsely confessing within different hypothetical scenarios.

                                                                                  • Goldstein, Naomi E. Sevin, Lois Oberlander Condie, Rachel Kalbeitzer, Douglas Osman, and Jessica L. Geier. 2003. Juvenile offenders’ Miranda rights comprehension and self-reported likelihood of offering false confessions. Assessment 10:359–369.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/1073191103259535E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    Using standardized measures, this study examined whether age, IQ, and special education affected comprehension of Miranda rights and self-reported false-confession tendencies among delinquent boys.

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                                                                                    • Gudjonsson, Gisli H., Jon Fridrik Sigurdsson, Olafur O. Bragason, Emil Einarsson, and Eva B. Valdimarsdottir. 2004. Confessions and denials and the relationship with personality. Legal and Criminological Psychology 9:121–133.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.1348/135532504322776898E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      A self-report study assessing the reasons and personality factors associated with confessions and denials. Specifically, false confessions are examined in relation to antisocial personality traits.

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                                                                                      • Gudjonsson, Gisli H., Jon Fridrik Sigurdsson, and Inga Dora Sigfusdottir. 2009. Interrogation and false confession among adolescents in seven European countries: What background and psychological variables best discriminate between false confessors and non-false confessors? Psychology, Crime, and Law 15:711–728.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/10683160802516257E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Assesses the rate of claimed false confessions among nearly twenty-five thousand high school students in Europe. Several individual variables were assessed to determine the differences between those who do and do not falsely confess: including, but not limited to, previous life experiences, academic performance, substance use, and delinquency.

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                                                                                        • Redlich, Allison D., Alicia Summers, and Steven Hoover. 2010. Self-reported false confessions and false guilty pleas among offenders with mental illness. Law and Human Behavior 34:79–90.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/s10979-009-9194-8E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          An analysis of false confessions and false guilty pleas by 1,249 individuals with mental illness from six locations. The authors also examine several individual characteristics that affect the likelihood of self-reported false admissions.

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                                                                                          • Sigurdsson, Jon F., and Gisli H. Gudjonsson. 1996. The psychological characteristics of ‘false confessors’: A study among Icelandic prison inmates and juvenile offenders. Personality and Individual Differences 20:321–329.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/0191-8869(95)00184-0E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            One of the first studies to estimate false confession rates among prisoners. The authors found that 12 percent of inmates claimed to have falsely confessed. Antisocial personality characteristics were associated with a higher likelihood of false confession.

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                                                                                            Surveys of Law Enforcement

                                                                                            Obtaining the perceptions and self-reported frequency of interrogation techniques among law enforcement has also been a fruitful avenue of research. The survey by Kassin, et al. 2007 is a general survey of more than six hundred North American law enforcement officials. Later studies have more specific foci. Evans, et al. 2009 surveys law enforcement officers about questioning intoxicated witnesses and suspects; Kostelnik and Reppucci 2009 and Meyer and Reppucci 2007 focus on the self-reported use of interrogation techniques with juveniles, as well as measuring police knowledge of adolescent development.

                                                                                            • Evans, Jacqueline R., Nadja Schreiber Compo, and Melissa B. Russano. 2009. Intoxicated witnesses and suspects: Procedures and prevalence according to law enforcement. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 15:194–221.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1037/a0016837E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Used a survey of law enforcement officers regarding their experiences with intoxicated witnesses and suspects. The authors address the prevalence of and procedures for dealing with intoxicated suspects, specifically discussing their interrogative suggestibility.

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                                                                                              • Kassin, Saul M., Richard A. Leo, Christian A. Meissner, Kimberly D. Richman, Lori H. Colwell, Amy-May Leach, and Dana La Fon. 2007. Police interviewing and interrogation: A self-report survey of police practices and beliefs. Law and Human Behavior 31:381–400.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1007/s10979-006-9073-5E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                The first US survey of its kind, which asks police investigators to report their beliefs and practices concerning interrogations. Discussion topics include accuracy of truth detection, Miranda waivers, interrogation length, confessions rate, and tactics utilized, among others.

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                                                                                                • Kostelnik, Jessica O., and N. Dickon Reppucci. 2009. Reid training and sensitivity to developmental maturity in interrogation: Results from a national survey of police. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 27:361–379.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1002/bsl.871E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  A survey of law enforcement officers assessing their knowledge of and sensitivity to the developmental maturity of juvenile suspects involved in interrogation. The authors compare Reid-trained to non-Reid-trained officers.

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                                                                                                  • Meyer, Jessica R., and N. Dickon Reppucci. 2007. Police practices and perceptions regarding juvenile interrogation and interrogative suggestibility. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 25:757–780.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1002/bsl.774E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    Represents the first standard documentation of reported beliefs and practices of law enforcement officials regarding juvenile interrogation and developmental issues. Meyer and Reppucci surveyed officers about interrogation procedures with juveniles and their knowledge about developmental issues related to youth.

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                                                                                                    Deception Detection

                                                                                                    The ability to detect deception has been the focus of a large body of research, extending beyond police interrogation settings. One of the earlier and most influential articles is by Ekman and O’Sullivan 1991, which demonstrated that most people perform at chance (i.e., 50/50) when determining whether others are telling the truth or lying. DePaulo, et al. 2003, in comprehensively examining the literature and 203 cues to deception, come to a similar conclusion. Vrij 2008 provides a comprehensive book on deception detection research. The studies by Albrechtsen, et al. 2009, Hartwig, et al. 2005, Mann, et al. 2004, Vrij, et al. 2006, and Vrij, et al. 2007 focus on, or are relevant to, specific interview and interrogation strategies and the ability to detect deceit.

                                                                                                    • Albrechtsen, Justin S., Christian A. Meissner, and Kyle J. Susa. 2009. Can intuition improve deception detection performance? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45:1052–1055.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.05.017E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Two studies comparing the accuracy of deception detection between those using intuitive processing and those using deliberate processing. The authors argue that intuition can improve the accuracy of deception detection.

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                                                                                                      • DePaulo, Bella M., James J. Lindsay, Brian E. Malone, Laura Muhlenbruck, Kelly Charlton, and Harris Cooper. 2003. Cues to deception. Psychological Bulletin 129:74–118.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.1.74E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        A key article examining the differences in behavioral cues between individuals who are lying and those telling the truth. The authors provide an overview of the topic, including a description and meta-analysis of previous literature.

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                                                                                                        • Ekman, Paul, and Maureen O’Sullivan. 1991. Who can catch a liar? American Psychologist 46:913–920.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.46.9.913E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Examines the ability of individuals to detect truth and lies in others. Subjects included college students, psychiatrists, legal actors, and law-enforcement personnel, including police, CIA and FBI officers, and members of the United States Secret Service.

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                                                                                                          • Hartwig, Maria, Par Anders Granhag, Leif A. Stromwall, and Aldert Vrij. 2005. Law and Human Behavior 29:469–484.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/s10979-005-5521-xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Examines the utility of the timing of evidence disclosure as a potential deception detection tool. Observers attempted to detect deception among suspects when incriminating evidence was disclosed at either an early or late stage of the interrogation.

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                                                                                                            • Mann, Samantha, Aldert Vrij, and Ray Bull. 2004. Detecting true lies: Police officers ability to suspect suspects lies. Journal of Applied Psychology 89:137–149.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.89.1.137E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              A study assessing the ability of police officers to distinguish between truth and deception during suspect interviews. Accuracy is examined in relation to officers’ experience, perceived behavioral cues, and confidence.

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                                                                                                              • Vrij, Aldert. 2008. Detecting lies and deceit: Pitfalls and opportunities. Chichester, UK: Wiley.

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                                                                                                                An introduction and comprehensive overview of deception detection. Vrij discusses verbal, nonverbal, and physiological differences in behavior between liars and truth-tellers, as well as the ability of others to detect deception based on these cues using several different methods.

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                                                                                                                • Vrij, Aldert, Samantha Mann, and Ronald P. Fisher. 2006. An empirical test of the behaviour analysis interview. Law and Human Behavior 30:329–345.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/s10979-006-9014-3E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  The first empirical test of the Behavior Analysis Interview (BAI), designed to invoke different responses from liars and truth tellers. The authors compared the results of forty interviews with the expectations of BAI proponents and those predicted by previous deception research.

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                                                                                                                  • Vrij, Aldert, Samantha Mann, Susanne Kristen, and Ronald P. Fisher. 2007. Cues to deception and ability to detect lies as a function of police interview styles. Law and Human Behavior 31:499–518.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/s10979-006-9066-4E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    Uses mock suspects, some lying and some telling the truth, to examine whether three different police interview styles influenced the number of verbal cues to deception. The authors also examined whether interview styles affected the accuracy and confidence of police in detecting deception from suspects.

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                                                                                                                    Miranda

                                                                                                                    Much research has focused on Miranda warnings and the ability of individuals to understand them. Leo 1996 examines Miranda and contemporary police interrogation. Rogers, et al. 2007 and Rogers, et al. 2008 assess Miranda warnings themselves across many jurisdictions. Kassin and Norwick 2004 studies the reasons for Miranda waivers, arguing that innocence itself is a risk factor. Other researchers have examined Miranda competence among several vulnerable populations. Feld 2006 assesses juveniles, Cooper and Zapf 2008 examines patients with differing levels of mental illness, and Fulero and Everington 1995 examines defendants with mental retardation.

                                                                                                                    • Cooper, Virginia G., and Patricia A. Zapf. 2008. Psychiatric patients’ comprehension of Miranda rights. Law and Human Behavior 32:390–405.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/s10979-007-9099-3E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      A study using standardized measures to assess psychiatric inpatients on their Miranda-related abilities. The authors examined the effects of different versions of Miranda warnings and several clinical variables.

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                                                                                                                      • Fulero, Solomon M., and Caroline Everington. 1995. Assessing competency to waive Miranda rights in defendants with mental retardation. Law and Human Behavior 19:533–543.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/BF01499342E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        A study comparing competency to waive Miranda rights among individuals suffering from mental retardation with competency among typical juveniles and adults. They also examine the effects of differing levels of criminal justice experience on Miranda competency.

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                                                                                                                        • Feld, Barry C. 2006. Juveniles competence to exercise Miranda rights: An empirical study of policy and practice. Minnesota Law Review 91:26–100.

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                                                                                                                          This comprehensive article discusses the law regarding juvenile interrogation, developmental research, and Miranda. Feld analyzes the police interrogation of sixty-six juveniles, providing the first observational empirical assessment of the routine practice of juvenile interrogations and the capacity of adolescents to understand and make decisions regarding their Miranda rights.

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                                                                                                                          • Kassin, Saul M., and Rebecca J. Norwick. 2004. Why people waive their Miranda rights: The power of innocence. Law and Human Behavior 28:211–221.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1023/B:LAHU.0000022323.74584.f5E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            A study examining Miranda waivers among both guilty and innocent “suspects” participating in a mock crime. Subjects were interrogated for a mock robbery by either a neutral, sympathetic, or hostile officer. Rates of Miranda waivers and reasons for the decision were assessed, as well as third-party observations of the interrogation.

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                                                                                                                            • Leo, Richard A. 1996. Miranda’s revenge: Police interrogation as a confidence game. Law and Society Review 30:259–287.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/3053960E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              A field-observation study of contemporary police interrogation. Leo argues that modern interrogations can be understood as a confidence game based on the manipulation of trust and that this framework can help explain confessions, the social interactions of interrogations, and officers’ use of power inside the interrogation room.

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                                                                                                                              • Rogers, Richard, Kimberly S. Harrison, Daniel W. Shuman, Kenneth W. Sewell, and Lisa L. Hazelwood. 2007. An analysis of Miranda warnings and waivers: Comprehension and coverage. Law and Human Behavior 31:177–192.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1007/s10979-006-9054-8E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                A study of Miranda language across the United States. The authors assessed the length, content, and reading-comprehension level of Miranda warnings and waivers across 560 jurisdictions.

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                                                                                                                                • Rogers, Richard, Lisa L. Hazelwood, Kenneth W. Sewell, Kimberly S. Harrison, and Daniel W. Shuman. 2008. The language of Miranda warnings in American jurisdictions: A replication and vocabulary analysis. Law and Human Behavior 32:124–136.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1007/s10979-007-9091-yE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  The authors replicated a previous study by examining the content of Miranda warnings from 385 jurisdictions. This study also presents the first analysis of the sentence complexity of Miranda warnings, which relates to both comprehension and retention. Preliminary guidelines for increasing Miranda understanding are provided.

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                                                                                                                                  Confirmation Bias

                                                                                                                                  Confirmation bias is a common factor in proven false confession cases. Meissner and Kassin 2004 describes this phenomenon and how it can play out in the interrogation room. Meissner and Kassin 2002 first conducts a meta-analysis of investigator bias and then examines response bias in police. Kassin, et al. 2003 and Hill, et al. 2008 employ innovative paradigms to examine the influence of guilt versus innocent expectations on chosen interrogation methods and perceived guilt.

                                                                                                                                  • Hill, Carole, Amina Memon, and Peter McGeorge. 2008. The role of confirmation bias in suspect interviews: A systematic evaluation. Legal and Criminological Psychology 13:357–371.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1348/135532507X238682E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Using three studies, the authors examine the effects of beliefs about guilt on interviewer questioning styles, confession and denial rates, and suspects’ verbal behavior during interviews.

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                                                                                                                                    • Kassin, Saul M., Christine C. Goldstein, and Kenneth Savitsky. 2003. Behavioral confirmation in the interrogation room: On the dangers of presuming guilt. Law and Human Behavior 27:187–203.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1023/A:1022599230598E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      An experiment testing the hypothesis that the guilt-presumptive nature of interrogations produces behavioral confirmation. Interrogators questioned suspects of a mock theft after being led to believe that suspects were either guilty or innocent. The authors assessed differences in techniques used, pressure exerted, and judgments made between the two groups.

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                                                                                                                                      • Meissner, Christian A., and Saul M. Kassin. 2002. “He’s guilty!”: Investigator bias in judgments of truth and deception. Law and Human Behavior 26:469–480.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1023/A:1020278620751E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Provides an analysis of previous literature and a new study on investigators’ ability to detect deception. The authors examined the effects of training and experience on detection accuracy and response biases.

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                                                                                                                                        • Meissner, Christian A., and Saul M. Kassin. 2004. ‘You’re guilty, so just confess!’: Cognitive and behavioral confirmation biases in the interrogation room. In Interrogations, confessions, and entrapment. Edited by G. Daniel Lassiter, 85–106. New York: Kluwer Academic.

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                                                                                                                                          Provides an overview of the presumption of guilt present in interrogations and its effects. The authors discuss deception detection, behavioral confirmation, investigator biases, corrective safeguards, and potential new frameworks for interrogation.

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                                                                                                                                          Vulnerable Populations

                                                                                                                                          Research indicates that certain populations may be especially vulnerable to modern, psychologically intensive interrogation tactics and, thus, more likely to offer false confessions. Specifically, researchers have focused on juveniles (see Juveniles) and offenders with mental illness or mental retardation (see Mental Illness and Mental Retardation).

                                                                                                                                          Juveniles

                                                                                                                                          Researchers have identified juveniles as a population that is especially vulnerable to interrogation techniques and at a high risk for falsely confessing. Owen-Kostelnik, et al. 2006 provides a comprehensive overview of juveniles as subjects of interrogation. Grisso 1980 provides a landmark study of juveniles’ legal protections, specifically Miranda, and juveniles’ abilities to waive such rights. Others have assessed interrogation techniques. Feld 2006 examines interrogations and legal documents to assess the techniques used with juvenile suspects compared to those used with adults, and Billings, et al. 2007 studies the effects of reinforcement on the false admissions of children. Viljoen, et al. 2005 assesses the legal decisions of youth and factors that affect such decisions. Some researchers have addressed dispositional characteristics of juveniles and their effects on confessions. Redlich and Goodman 2003 assess the influence of age and suggestibility, while Scott-Hayward 2007 addresses developmental issues. Finally, Woolard, et al. 2008 examines the knowledge of both adolescents and their parents about interrogation.

                                                                                                                                          • Billings, F. James, Tanya Taylor, James Burns, Deb L. Corey, Sena Garven, and James M. Wood. 2007. Can reinforcement induce children to falsely incriminate themselves? Law and Human Behavior 31:125–139.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/s10979-006-9049-5E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Study examining whether reinforcement for self-incriminating statements increased the rate of false admissions among young children compared to those not receiving such reinforcement.

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                                                                                                                                            • Feld, Barry C. 2006. Police interrogation of juveniles: An empirical study of policy and practice. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 97:219–316.

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                                                                                                                                              In this study, Professor Barry Feld obtains the tapes and transcripts of interrogated juveniles (aged sixteen and seventeen) from an urban county, as well as police reports, court filings, and probation and sentencing reports. He examines several factors and concluded that the police use many of the same techniques (for example, the Reid Technique) with juveniles as they do with adults.

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                                                                                                                                              • Grisso, Thomas. 1980. Juveniles capacities to waive Miranda rights: An empirical analysis. California Law Review 68:1134–1166.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/3480263E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Provides an overview of juveniles’ legal protections in regard to Miranda waivers and reviews the methodology and results of two Miranda comprehension studies. Grisso uses this evidence in an argument for a per se exclusionary rule, stating that juveniles’ waivers are not voluntary, knowing, and intelligent.

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                                                                                                                                                • Owen-Kostelnik, Jessica, N. Dickon Reppucci, and Jessica R. Meyer. 2006. Testimony and interrogation of minors: Assumptions about maturity and morality. American Psychologist 61:286–304.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.61.4.286E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  A key work providing a comprehensive overview of juveniles as subjects of police interviews and interrogations. The authors address the relevant legal history, and discuss the legal, sociological, and developmental factors involved in juvenile interrogations and false confessions. They argue for the alteration of juvenile interrogation practices.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Redlich, Allison D., and Gail S. Goodman. 2003. Taking responsibility for an act not committed: The influence of age and suggestibility. Law and Human Behavior 27:141–156.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1023/A:1022543012851E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    A seminal experiment investigating the effects of age and suggestibility on the likelihood of making false incriminating statements among individuals who were erroneously led to believe that they had caused a computer to crash. Age and likelihood of false confession were negatively related.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Scott-Hayward, Christine S. 2007. Explaining juvenile false confessions: Adolescent development and police interrogation. Law and Psychology Review 31:53–76.

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                                                                                                                                                      Connects research on psychological development and police interrogation. Scott-Hayward argues that juvenile false confessions are a serious problem and discusses the relevant psychological research, the connection with Miranda waivers, and the juvenile’s ability to withstand interrogation techniques. Preventive measures are also discussed.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Viljoen, Jodi L., Jessica Klaver, and Ronald Roesch. 2005. Legal decisions of preadolescent and adolescent defendants: Predictors of confessions, pleas, communication with attorneys, and appeals. Law and Human Behavior 29:253–277.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/s10979-005-3613-2E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Examines the legal decision making of individuals aged eleven to seventeen. This study examined confessions, among other legal decisions, and examined the effects of strength of evidence on decisions of participants in different age groups. The authors also assessed legal experience and socio-demographic characteristics of participants.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Woolard, Jennifer L., Hayley M. D. Cleary, Samantha A. S. Harvell, and Rusan Chen. 2008. Examining adolescents’ and their parents’ conceptual and practical knowledge of police interrogation: A family dyad approach. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 37:685–698.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/s10964-008-9288-5E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Assesses whether parents have the knowledge about rights and police practices necessary to compensate for youths’ lack of knowledge and protect their children’s best interests during interrogation.

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                                                                                                                                                          Mental Illness and Mental Retardation

                                                                                                                                                          Individuals suffering from mental illness and mental retardation are overrepresented in known cases of false confessions and several researchers have addressed this issue. Perske 2004 discusses characteristics of individuals with intellectual disabilities that increase the likelihood of false confessions. Clare and Gudjonsson 1995 provides a review of experimental literature and a pilot study on the vulnerability of intellectually disabled persons. Redlich 2004 examines interrogation and false confessions in relation to mental illness, and Rogers, et al. 2007 provides a study of Miranda understanding among the mentally ill. The others focus on mental retardation. Appelbaum and Appelbaum 1994 provides an overview of criminal justice-related competence among individuals with mental retardation, and Everington and Fulero 1999 assesses understanding of Miranda and suggestibility among such persons.

                                                                                                                                                          • Appelbaum, Kenneth L., and Paul S. Appelbaum. 1994. Criminal-justice-related competencies in defendants with mental retardation. Journal of Psychiatry and Law 22:483–503.

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                                                                                                                                                            Provides an overview of the functional effects of mental retardation and discusses the potential consequences for legal competencies at different stages of criminal proceedings, including confession and waiver decisions.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Clare, Isabel C. H., and Gisli H. Gudjonsson. 1995. The vulnerability of suspects with intellectual disabilities during police interviews: A review and experimental study of decision-making. Mental Handicap Research 8:110–128.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-3148.1995.tb00149.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Reviews experimental literature on mentally impaired suspects’ understanding of their rights, and susceptibility to acquiescence, suggestibility, compliance, and confabulation during police interviews. The authors also present a pilot study examining decision making among participants with intellectual disabilities and those with average abilities.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Everington, Caroline, and Solomon M. Fulero. 1999. Competence to confess: Measuring understanding and suggestibility of defendants with mental retardation. Mental Retardation 37:212–220.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1352/0047-6765(1999)037<0212:CTCMUA>2.0.CO;2E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                A study comparing Miranda comprehension and suggestibility among participants suffering from mental retardation with participants without mental disabilities.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Perske, Robert. 2004. Understanding persons with intellectual disabilities in the criminal justice system: Indicators of progress. Mental Retardation 42:484–487.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1352/0047-6765(2004)42<484:UPWIDI>2.0.CO;2E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Perske is one of the leading authorities on persons with intellectual disabilities and police involvement. In this article, he discusses twenty characteristics that increase the likelihood of false confession in this population.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Redlich, Allison D. 2004. Mental illness, police interrogations, and the potential for false confession. Psychiatric Services 55:19–21.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.55.1.19E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    An examination of the high rate of false confession cases involving mentally ill defendants. This article provides an overview of mental illness in the criminal justice system, as well as interrogation techniques and their effects on persons suffering from mental impairments.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Rogers, Richard, Kimberly S. Harrison, Lisa L. Hazelwood, and Kenneth W. Sewell. 2007. Knowing and intelligent: A study of Miranda warnings in mentally disordered defendants. Law and Human Behavior 31:401–418.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/s10979-006-9070-8E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      An examination of the ability of mentally ill defendants to understand their Miranda rights. They also assess cognitive abilities, clinical, and background characteristics of the participants that affect the decision either to waive or invoke their Miranda rights.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Interrogation Law

                                                                                                                                                                      Several important legal decisions have had a significant impact on the law regarding interrogation and confession. Miranda v. Arizona requires police to inform suspects of their legal rights prior to interrogation. The Supreme Court prevented Congress from overruling Miranda in Dickerson v. United States. Frazier v. Cupp deals with interrogation tactics, allowing officers to lie to suspects, and in Arizona v. Fulminante, the court ruled that coerced confessions may be considered harmless error. Colorado v. Connelly addresses voluntary admissions and police boundaries. Fisher and Rozen-Zvi 2008 and Leo, et al. 2006 discuss legal doctrines regarding confession evidence, suggesting that current safeguards are not sufficient. Wrightsman 2010 provides an overview of the Supreme Court’s decisions related to Miranda and police interrogation.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Arizona v. Fulminante. 499 U.S. 279 (1991).

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                                                                                                                                                                        In an important but controversial decision, the Supreme Court applied the “harmless error” rule to coerced confessions, ruling that such admissions may be used in court if their use is harmless, or if a jury would likely convict even without them.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Colorado v. Connelly. 479 U.S. 157 (1986).

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                                                                                                                                                                          A case dealing with voluntary confessions associated with mentally ill suspects. The Supreme Court held that incriminating statements made by an individual, even one suffering from mental illness, should not be suppressed without the presence of governmental coercion.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Dickerson v. United States. 530 U.S. 428 (2000).

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                                                                                                                                                                            A decision preventing Congress from legislatively overruling Miranda. The Supreme Court upheld the requirement that Miranda warnings be read to all criminal suspects, including those who make voluntary confessions.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Fisher, Talia, and Issachar Rosen-Zvi. 2008. The confessional penalty. Cardozo Law Review 30:871–916.

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                                                                                                                                                                              This article discusses and critiques the established legal doctrine and other proposed reforms for addressing false confessions. The authors then propose a different solution, which uses a penal reduction for confessors in order to change the incentive structure for the use of confession evidence.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Frazier v. Cupp. 394 U.S. 731 (1969).

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                                                                                                                                                                                A case involving the legality of deceptive tactics used by the police during interrogation. The Supreme Court ruled that an officer is allowed to lie to the suspect about the strength of a case during interrogation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Leo, Richard A., Steven A. Drizin, Peter J. Neufeld, Bradley R. Hall, and Amy Vatner. 2006. Bringing reliability back in: False confessions and legal safeguards in the twenty-first century. Wisconsin Law Review 2:479–539.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Reviews legal doctrines and their insufficiencies surrounding confession evidence. The authors also suggest a new standard that focuses on reliability rather than subjective opinions of voluntary confessions and corroboration. The authors highlight the “Central Park Jogger” case.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Miranda v. Arizona. 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

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                                                                                                                                                                                    A landmark decision for interrogation law. The Court held that a criminal suspect in police custody must be informed of their Constitutional rights, including rights to remain silent and to have a lawyer present, before interrogation begins. A suspect may waive these rights if done so voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Wrightsman, Lawrence S. 2010. The Supreme Court on Miranda rights and interrogations: The past, the present, and the future. In Police interrogations and false confessions: Current research, practice, and police recommendations. Edited by G. Daniel Lassiter and Christian Meissner, 161–177. Washington, DC: APA.

                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1037/12085-000E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lawrence Wrightsman, a leading authority on the US Supreme Court, provides an up-to-date overview of the high court’s decisions relevant to Miranda and interrogations. He also opines on the court’s future decisions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Confessions in the Courtroom

                                                                                                                                                                                      Confession evidence has been found to be one of the strongest forms of evidence at trial. Regardless of the techniques used to secure a confession and the safeguards in place to protect the innocent, jurors often convict if the accused offered a confession. This is highlighted by the juror studies in this section. Kassin and Neumann 1997 examines the impact of confession evidence compared to other forms. Kassin and Wrightsman 1980, Kassin and McNall 1991, and Kassin and Sukel 1997 examine perceptions of and decisions in cases involving confessions obtained through different tactics and different court rulings. Kassin and Wrightsman 1981 assesses the effect of a cautionary jury instruction on perceptions of confession evidence. Nadjdowski, et al. 2009 and Redlich, et al. 2008 provide studies of perceptions of confession evidence involving juvenile suspects.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Kassin, Saul M., and Karlyn McNall. 1991. Police interrogations and confessions: Communicating promises and threats by pragmatic implication. Law and Human Behavior 15:233–251.

                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/BF01061711E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        A study examining the effects of different interrogation techniques on jurors’ perceptions of confession evidence. The authors assessed whether different police tactics changed mock jurors’ weighting of confession evidence and affected their decisions to convict or acquit.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Kassin, Saul M., and Holly Sukel. 1997. Coerced confessions and the jury: An experimental test of the “harmless error” rule. Law and Human Behavior 21:27–46.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1023/A:1024814009769E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          Study using mock-juror experiments to evaluate the Supreme Court ruling that erroneously admitted coerced confessions can be considered “harmless error.” The effects of different interrogation tactics and different rulings on the admissibility of the confession on mock-juror perceptions and decisions were assessed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kassin, Saul M., and Katherine Neumann. 1997. On the power of confession evidence: An experimental test of the fundamental difference hypothesis. Law and Human Behavior 21:469–484.

                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1023/A:1024871622490E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            Uses three mock-juror studies to compare the impact of confession evidence compared to other types of evidence, including eyewitness identification and character testimony.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kassin, Saul M., and Lawrence S. Wrightsman. 1980. Prior confessions and mock juror verdicts. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 10:133–146.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1980.tb00698.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              A study assessing jurors’ perceptions of coerced confessions. The authors examine whether mock jurors discounted confessions as unreliable and whether it affected their decisions for defendants who either did not confess or confessed under several different conditions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kassin, Saul M., and Lawrence S. Wrightsman. 1981. Coerced confessions, judicial instruction, and mock juror verdicts. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 11:489–506.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1981.tb00838.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                A study assessing the extent to which judicial instructions about coerced confessions affect juror decisions. Using cases involving different types of confessions and different jury instructions, the authors examined the differences in perceptions of voluntary confessions and verdicts among mock jurors.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Nadjdowski, Cynthia J., Bette L. Bottoms, and Maria C. Vargas. 2009. Jurors’ perception of juvenile defendants: The influence of intellectual disability, abuse history, and confession evidence. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 27:401–430.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1002/bsl.873E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  A study of juvenile confession evidence. Using mock jurors, the authors examine perceptions of coerced confession evidence for both intellectually disabled and nondisabled juvenile defendants.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Redlich, Allison D., Jodi A. Quas, and Simona Ghetti. 2008. Perceptions of children during a police interrogation: Guilt, confessions, and interview fairness. Psychology, Crime, and Law 14:201–223.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1080/10683160701652542E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    An experiment in which age and gender of a child suspect were manipulated. Participants read a transcript based on an actual juvenile false-confession case. Similar to what has been found with adult defendants, perceptions of confessions being voluntary did not predict guilt.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Confession Experts in the Courtroom

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Expert testimony is discretionarily allowed as a potential safeguard against false confessions at trial. Different jurisdictions use different standards of admissibility for such testimony. Soree 2005 discusses the admissibility of expert testimony at trial, focusing on several key cases. Costanzo and Leo 2007 and Fulero 2004 discuss such cases and examine the Frye and Daubert standards for admissibility of expert testimony. Kassin 2008 also discusses these standards, as well as the utility of social-scientific research. Leo, et al. 2009 also discusses the utility of such research and potential reforms designed to prevent or intervene with false confessions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Costanzo, Mark, and Richard A. Leo. 2007. Research and expert testimony on Interrogations and confessions. In Expert Psychological Testimony for the Courts. Edited by Mark Costanzo, Daniel Krauss, and Kathy Pezdek, 69–98. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      In addition to providing an overview of how coerced and false confessions occur, the authors discuss three important cases involving expert testimony. The three cases are Crane v. Kentucky (1986), California v. Page (1991), and U.S. v. Hall (1996, 1997). The authors also address the content of expert testimony.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Fulero, Solomon. 2004. Expert psychological testimony on the psychology of interrogations and confessions. In Interrogations, confessions, and entrapment. Edited by G. Daniel Lassiter, 247–263. New York: Kluwer Academic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        The author discusses the cases of Crane v. Kentucky and California v. Page in detail. He also reviews more recent cases involving interrogation and confession experts, as well as highlighting pertinent issues of the Frye and Daubert standards.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Kassin, Saul M. 2008. Expert testimony on the psychology of confessions: A pyramidal model of the relevant science. In Beyond common sense: Psychological science in the courtroom. Edited by Eugene Borgida and Susan T. Fiske, 195–218. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kassin provides a model for examining the psychology of interrogation and confession. Core psychological principles, content-specific research, and known false confession are all included. Kassin also discusses the Frye and Daubert tests for the inclusion of scientific evidence at trial, and the utility of social-scientific research for promoting justice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Leo, Richard A., Mark Costanzo, and Netta Shaked-Schroer. 2009. Psychological and cultural aspects of interrogations and false confessions: Using research to inform legal decision-making. In Psychological expertise in court: Psychology in the courtroom, Vol. 2. Edited by Daniel A. Krauss and Joel D. Lieberman, 25–55. Surrey, UK: Ashgate.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            An overview of the stages of interrogation and analysis of tactics used by police. This chapter examines interrogations outside and inside the United States, discussing the reasons why false confessions occur within the United States. The authors also discuss potential corrective reforms.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Soree, Nadia. 2005. When the innocent speak: False confessions, Constitutional safeguards, and the role of expert testimony. American Journal of Criminal Law 32:191–263.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Provides a brief review of scientific literature on false confessions and an in-depth discussion of the safeguards in place and the admissibility of expert testimony. Soree discusses relevant case law throughout the paper.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Perceptions and Beliefs about Confessions

                                                                                                                                                                                                              An important part of expert testimony consideration is whether judges and jurors need to hear from an expert. Several studies have examined what individuals know and believe about interrogations and confessions. Most studies have been surveys. Across three studies, Blandon-Gitlin, et al. 2010 surveyed jury-eligible adults and college students in Southern California. The authors also examined perceptions before and after expert testimony. Chojnacki, et al. 2008 surveyed a national sample of adults by recruiting over the Internet. Costanzo, et al. 2010 utilizes a professional research firm to recruit a nationwide jury-eligible sample. Henkel, et al. 2008 surveyed Northeastern adults from the community as well as college students. Leo and Liu 2009 surveyed California college students. Woody and Forrest 2009 manipulated the presentation of false evidence within a trial context and examined the influence on mock jurors who did and did not hear from an expert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Blandon-Gitlin, Iris, Katheryn Sperry, and Richard Leo. 2010. Jurors believe interrogation tactics are not likely to elicit false confessions: Will expert witness testimony inform them otherwise? Psychology, Crime, and Law 16:1477–2744.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/10683160903113699E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Assesses jurors’ perceptions of situational interrogation factors, specifically how coercive and effective they were. The authors also used an actual case to examine how expert testimony influenced these perceptions and juror decisions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Chojnacki, Danielle E., Michael D. Cicchini, and Lawrence T. White. 2008. An empirical basis for the admission of expert testimony on false confessions. Arizona State Law Journal 40:1–45.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Examines whether information regarding false confessions is within jurors’ common knowledge, the standard used to determine the admissibility of expert testimony on the subject. The authors argue that such expert testimony should be admissible, as it would assist juries in evaluating alleged confessions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Costanzo, Mark, Netta Shaked-Schroer, and Katherine Vinson. 2010. Juror beliefs about police interrogations, false confessions, and expert testimony. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 7:231–247.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-1461.2010.01177.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The authors surveyed 461 jury-eligible individuals about their beliefs regarding false confessions, the likely rates of false confessions for different crimes, permissible interrogation tactics, expert testimony, and the ability to distinguish between true and false confessions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Henkel, Linda A., Kimberly A. Coffman, and Elizabeth M. Dailey. 2008. A survey of people’s attitudes and beliefs about false confessions. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 26:555–584.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1002/bsl.826E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A survey of jury-eligible individuals. The authors assessed respondents’ perceptions regarding the frequency of false confessions, and their beliefs about potential situational and dispositional risk factors.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Leo, Richard A., and Brittany Liu. 2009. What do potential jurors know about police interrogation techniques and false confessions? Behavioral Sciences and the Law 27:381–399.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1002/bsl.872E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Leo and Liu use a survey to assess jurors’ perceptions regarding interrogation techniques, the effectiveness of such techniques, and the likelihood that these tactics could elicit false confessions from innocent suspects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Woody, William Douglas, and Krista D. Forrest. 2009. Effects of false-evidence ploys and expert testimony on jurors verdicts, recommended sentences, and perceptions of confession evidence. Behavioral Sciences and the Law 27:333–360.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1002/bsl.865E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A mock-juror study examining the effects of presenting false incriminating evidence during interrogation. Subjects read interrogation transcripts either with or without a false-evidence ploy. The authors assessed the effects of such techniques on juror decision making.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Videotaping Interrogations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The most-recommended reform for reducing false confessions is electronically recording the entire interrogation. Sullivan 2010 describes why this is likely to be an effective reform. Professor G. Daniel Lassiter has spent more than twenty years studying the influence of video-camera angles on perceptions of whether a confession is voluntary or not. Lassiter 2002 and Lassiter, et al. 2002 provide an overview of this work on the camera-perspective effect. Lassiter, et al. 2007 is a study demonstrating that judges and experts are not immune to the camera-perspective effect. Building on this body of work, Ratcliff, et al. 2010 examines the “racial salience bias” by manipulating the race of the interrogator and suspect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Lassiter, G. Daniel. 2002. Illusory causation in the courtroom. Current Directions in Psychological Science 11:204–208.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/1467-8721.00201E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Uses the idea of illusory causation to discuss the different perceptions of confession evidence caused by different orientations of the camera in videotaped statements. Lassiter explains the idea, describes experiments demonstrating the phenomenon, and discusses the practical implications of such research.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lassiter, G. Daniel, Andrew L. Geers, Ian M. Handley, Paul E. Weiland, and Patrick J. Munhall. 2002. Videotaped interrogations and confessions: A simple change in camera perspective alters verdicts in simulated trials. Journal of Applied Psychology 87:867–874.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.87.5.867E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Examines camera perspective and perceptions of videotaped confessions. Two studies used mock jurors to assess the effects of different camera orientations on perceptions of whether or not a confession was voluntary and on final verdicts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lassiter, G. Daniel, Shari Seidman Diamond, Heather C. Schmidt, and Jennifer K. Elek. 2007. Evaluating videotaped confessions: Expertise provides no defense against the camera perspective effect. Psychological Science 18:224–226.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01879.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Building on his work on illusory causation and perceptions of whether or not confessions were voluntary, Professor Lassiter and colleagues demonstrate that even experts are not immune to the camera-perspective bias. The experts included in this study were judges and police officers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ratcliff, Jennifer J., G. Daniel Lassiter, Victoria M. Jager, Matthew J. Lindberg, Jennifer K. Elek, and Adam E. Hasinski. 2010. The hidden consequences of racial salience in videotaped interrogations and confessions. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 16:200–218.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/a0018482E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Examines the effects of race on perceptions of recorded interrogations. Caucasian observers watched interrogations involving suspects and interrogators of different racial groups. The authors assessed subjects’ perceptions of whether or not a confession was voluntary, of suspect guilt, and of sentence severity. Practical implications are discussed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sullivan, Thomas. 2010. The wisdom of custodial recording. In Police interrogations and false confessions: Current research, practice, and police recommendations. Edited by G. Daniel Lassiter and Christian Meissner, 127–142. Washington, DC: APA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1037/12085-000E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    An overview of the research of Thomas Sullivan and colleagues, who have surveyed law enforcement extensively about videotaping practices. The chapter reviews statements of support and commonly encountered objections.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Inquisitorial Interviewing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In Great Britain and several other countries, police interrogation methods have undergone transformations from those that are accusatorial and confrontational (like in the United States) to those that are inquisitorial, truth seeking, and information gathering. Bull and Milne 2004 and Williamson 1994 describe this transformation, including the impetus for change and the resultant approaches. Schollum 2005 provides a comprehensive literature review of inquisitorial (or investigative) interviewing. Clark and Milne 2001 provides a preliminary evaluation of the PEACE method, which is Great Britain’s form of the inquisitorial approach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Bull, Ray, and Becky Milne. 2004. Attempts to improve the police interviewing of suspects. In Interrogations, confessions, and entrapment. Edited by G. Daniel Lassiter, 181–196. New York: Kluwer Academic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A chapter describing the change in interrogation ethos in Great Britain. The authors describe the process that led to the change and the eventual PEACE model. The authors also provide some data on the initial effectiveness of PEACE.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Clarke, Colin, and Rebecca Milne. 2001. National evaluation of the PEACE investigative interviewing course. Home Office, London: UK, Research Award Scheme, Report No. PRSA 149.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A comprehensive evaluation of PEACE, a standardized interview training program for police in England and Wales. The authors provide in-depth analysis of 177 taped interviews, rating them and comparing those conducted by PEACE-trained officers and non-PEACE-trained officers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Schollum, Mary. 2005. Investigative interviewing: The literature.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A comprehensive literature review of investigative interviewing. The author reviews major interviewing techniques, such as the PEACE approach and Cognitive Interviewing. The context of the review was to improve upon current suspect interviewing practices in New Zealand. Report published by the Office of the Commissioner of Police, New Zealand Police.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Williamson, Thomas M. 1994. From interrogation to investigative interviewing: Strategic trends in police questioning. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 3:89–99.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1002/casp.2450030203E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Examines the shift toward a more ethical approach of “investigative interviewing” in England. The author surveyed detectives from London police stations about the practices used in questioning suspects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Military Interrogations and Torture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Like police interrogation techniques, military interrogation or intelligence gathering has also come under fire in the 21st century. Most controversial is the use of torture. United States Code 18 §2340 is the federal statute concerning the use of torture and US Army 2006 is the army’s manual on human intelligence collection, which explicitly prohibits torture. Costanzo and Gerrity 2009 reviews the possible effects and effectiveness of torture as an intelligence gaining method. Costanzo, et al. 2006 focuses on the specific role of psychologists and the use of torture. Costanzo and Redlich 2010 describes the military and police interrogation techniques used in different countries, whereas Redlich 2007 analyzes the similarities and differences between police and military interrogation techniques.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Costanzo, Mark A., and Ellen Gerrity. 2009. The effects and effectiveness of using torture as an interrogation device: Using research to inform the policy debate. Social Issues and Policy Review 3:179–210.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-2409.2009.01014.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A review of the relevant research on false confessions and the mental-health consequences of torture. The authors examine the conditions that promote acts of cruelty and explore the arguments used to justify torture. Costs and benefits of using torture are discussed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Costanzo, Mark, and Allison Redlich. 2010. Physical and psychological force in criminal and military interrogations in the United States. In Police use of force: A global perspective. Edited by Joseph B. Kuhns and Johannes Knutsson, 43–51. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An overview of physical and psychological tactics used in interrogation. This chapter discusses the history of torture in interrogations, both police and military. Psychological tactics are also discussed. The authors describe how these methods may lead to false confessions and inaccurate information.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Costanzo, Mark, Ellen Gerrity, and M. Brinton Lykes. 2006. Psychologists and the use of torture in interrogations. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy 6:1–14.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-2415.2007.00118.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An overview of the use of torture and related ethics codes and international law. The authors review relevant research on interrogations and false confessions. Costanzo and colleagues argue that psychologists should not be involved in interrogations that use torture; and they provide recommendations for how psychologists should respond to such interrogations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Redlich, Allison D. 2007. Military vs. police interrogations: Similarities and differences. Peace and Conflict 13:423–428.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1080/10781910701665741E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Compares and contrasts military and police interrogations. Redlich discusses their purpose, techniques used, the targets of such interrogations, interrogator training, and the use of torture. Implications for innocent suspects are discussed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • US Army. 2006. Human Intelligence Collector Operations. Field Manual 2–22.3 (FM 34–52). Washington, DC: US Department of the Army.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Released in September 2006, this manual describes the different processes and techniques to be used in military interrogation and intelligence information gathering.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • United States Code 18. §2340.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The federal statute defining torture and rendering it illegal.

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