PSYC 2400 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Reid Technique, Legal Technicality, False Evidence

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25 May 2018
Department
Course
Professor
Unit 3: Psychology of Police Investigations
Section 1: False Confessions
Definition
False Confession:
o Intentionally fabricated
o Not based on actual knowledge of facts that form content
Ca e a eaggeatio o iiizatio of soeoes ole i a ie, o
mistake due to memory failure
Key is that is fully or partially not true
Retracted confessions
o Claim confession false at later date
Coerced
Disputed confessions
o Legal technicality
Ma e peso didt udestad thei legal ights, o polie didt use
proper techniques
o Claimed never confession never made
False Confessions - Incidence
Self-report
o ~ 1% - 12%
Wrongful convictions
o ~ 25% contained false confession
False Confession - Types
Voluntary False Confession
o No prompting by police
o Reasons:
Protect real offender
Notoriety (attention/publicity)
Need to relieve guilt
Cannot distinguish fact from fantasy
Coerced compliant
o Caused by police interrogation tactics
o Confessor knows they are innocent
o Reasons:
Escape interrogation situation
Gain promised reward/escape threatened punishment
o Arguably most common
Coerced-Internalized
o Believed they committed crime
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o Highly suggestive interrogations
o Reasons:
Substance abuse
Vulnerable mental state (anxious, confused, etc.)
Highly suggestible questions
False Confession Research
Epeiet: tpe ithout hittig Alt Ke
o All oputes ashed & people iteogated
False evidence
Vulnerability
o Experimenters measured level of:
Compliance
Internalization
Confabulation (degree to which made up details are formed to fit)
Russano/Cheating paradigm
o Participants perform individual & group problems
Guilty condition poide help o idiidual poblem
Innocent condition not asked to provide help
o Accused of cheating by experimenter
o Large minority falsely confessed (20%)
Offered a deal (8% increase)
Minimization (12% increase)
Both (37% increase)
False Confessions Consequences
Innocent people sent to jail (or executed)
o Juries ignore how confession was obtained
Guilty person not apprehended
Waste of time & resources
Impact on victim (re-live the crime)
Section 2: Police Interrogations & the Reid Technique
Police Interrogations Goals
Main goal obtain a confession
o Powerful evidence in court
Gain info to further the investigation
o Location of evidence
o Co-conspirators
o Exact details of crime
Police Interrogations Historical
Mid-1900s Third degree
o Whipping
o Rubber hoses & phone books
Confession by physical tactic
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1980 stun gun used by NYPD
o less, but some physical tactic
Today subtle psychological tactics & trickery
o Lie about physical evidence
o Use of hypotheticals
o Imply threats to family members
o Minimize seriousness of crime
Police Interrogations Reid
Most widely used approach
Involves 3 stages:
o Gather evidence
o Conduct a non-accusatorial interview to assess guilt (detecting deception)
o Conduct an accusatorial interrogation to obtain a confession
9-step interrogation
o goal confession
Step 1: Direct Positive Confrontation
state certainty in guilt
o use fabricated or real evidence
pause, observe, repeat confrontation
passive reaction= deception
state pupose of iteie is to figue out h
2 Types of Suspects
Step 2: Theme Development
Offer excuses/explanations for offence
o Allow for justification & rationalization
Possible themes for emotional suspects:
o Anyone in situation would have done same
o Miiize ies oal seiousess
o Suggest morally acceptable reasons
o Condemn others (i.e., blame victim)
o Praise & flattery (i.e., you seem like a good guy)
Possible themes for non-emotional suspects:
o Catch them in a lie
o Get suspect associated with crime scene
o Suggest non-criminal intent behind act
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