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Lecture 12


Course Code
PSYC 376
Deborah Connolly

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Chapter 14 ~ Police Interrogation and False Confessions
-Superpredator – especially violent breed of juvenile offenders who acted impulsively and without remorse
-Central park jogger case – produce 5 false confession case stands for juveniles susceptibility to interrogative influence
-Often, when police identified a suspect, they bring them to police station for questions
-Prior to interrogation, police will conduct nonaccusatorial interview during which ask series of behaviour-provoking questions,
observe suspect’s verbal and nonverbal behaviour, attempt to determine whether suspect is telling truth or lying
-Reid technique approach begins with
Behavioural analysis interview (BAI) - series of presumably diagnostic questions ex. What do you think should happen
to person who committed this crime?; behavioural symptoms analysis interviewer then seeks to distinguish between
innocent and guilty suspects by observing nonverbal behaviours such as slouching, diminished eye contact, frozen
posture, other behaviours that’s developmentally typical of youth
~ Important: make judgments of truth and deception = if suspect judged to be deceptive, interrogation will ensue, if not
then would be released
~ Research don’t support use of BAI as diagnostic tool (people can’t reliably tell who being deceptive, on average,
perform at chance levels) – same for police, although they are often found to be highly confident in their abilities and
biased towards judgements o f deception
~ suspect judged to be deceptive, waiver of Miranda rights to silence and to an attorney must be obtained before police
can legally proceed with interrogation (this stage, suspect must waive these constitutionally rights voluntarily,
knowing, an intelligently)
~ interrogators isolate suspects, confront them with accusations of guilty, present false evidence of guilt, interrupt
denials, utilize motivational” themes” that minimize crime by offering moral justification and face-saving excuses +
may use maximization tactics , ultimately interrogator posesalternative question” that offers suspect choice between
two guilty options to elicit an initial admission
-Results: some behaviours that are supposed to be characteristics of liars (shifting posture, evasive answers) were correlated with
truth telling
-Comprehensibility of Miranda warnings ranges from grade 2 level to postgraduate levels
-Some components of waiver, ex. Right to remain silence, and anything said could be held against you, ended to be presented in
comprehensible form in most jurisdictions
-If suspects waive their Miranda rights, interrogation can proceeding absence of lawyer
-Current-day interrogations rely on psychological tactics to obtain self-incriminating statements
-Inbau claim techniques used for adult suspects are just as applicable for juvenile suspects (Reid)
~ But say minimization better for juveniles because citing strategies good for impulsive tendencies and inability to resist
temptations and excitability
-Trickery and deception can induce false confessions
-Police use guilt-presumptive social influence techniques that increase risk of false confessions
-US going throughage of innocence” – advances of DNA technology + wrongful convictionsinnocent project

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-Situational and dispositional characterises identified as contributing factors to false confessions
1. Situational factors: excessive length so custody and interrogation time, common interrogation ploys (gulit-presumptive
posture of interrogator, presentation of false evidence, minimization of seriousness)
2. Dispositional factors: youth and mental impairment (intelligence and illness), compliant, suggestible personalities,
immaturity, impulsivity, lack of experience, substance use problems, chronic stress, fatigue, cultural upbringing, multiple
past victimizations
-When voluntariness of confessions is questioned, courts use totality of circumstances approach for both adults and juveniles
-US supreme court abolish death penalty for defendants younger than 18
-Adolescence period marked by changes in biological, cognitive, social, and emotional development + peer influence important
-Early adolescence marks onset of puberty, heightening emotional arousability, sensation seeking, reward orientation
-Mid-adolescence period of increased vulnerability to risk taking and problems in affect and behaviour
-Late adolescence period where frontal lobes continue to mature, facilitating regulatory competence and executive functioning
-Emerging adulthood = distinct period of growth (18-25 yr old )
-Brain imaging adolescents brain is qualitatively different
~ Limbic (socioemotional) system and prefrontal cortex (planning and cognitive control) continue to develop to early adult,
synaptic pruning and myelination
-Age and suggestibility negatively related in adolescence
-Interrogative suggestibility – tendency of an individual’s account of events to be altered by misleading information and
interpersonal al pressure within interviews
-Gudjonsson, and Kelly teens and adults don’t differ in cognitive-based component of suggestibility (memorial abilities), teens
more malleable when comes to social component part (influence from examiners)
-90%/+ juveniles waive their rights while 75-80% of adults waive
-Grisso et a. minors 15 younger more likely to be impaired on measure of competence than older teens, when presented with
hypothetical interrogation scenarios more likely to choose confess rather than remain silent or deny
-Some states require guardians to be present during (or notified) of interrogation of juvenile suspects, because of deficits in
competence to waive Miranda rights
~ Unclear whether parents are beneficial and act in child’s best interest
~ Woolard et al. found 25% caretakers exhibited impaired Miranda comprehension and 31 % had both impaired child and
impaired caretaker
-Kassin et al. found police officers frequently use Reid technique-like tactics when not formally trained
-Police say false confessions occurs 4.78% of time
-Meyer and Repucci’s survey findings:
1. Police offers acknowledge developmental differences exist among children (13 under), youth (14-17), and adults (children
and youth more impulsive, more influenced by authority), but developmental distinction acknowledge only outside of
interrogating context
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