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Lecture 3

PSYC 3020 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Peter Sutcliffe, Confabulation, Offender Profiling


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3020
Professor
Dan Yarmey
Lecture
3

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UNIT 3-Psychology of Police Investigations:
Police Interrogations:
Main goal is to obtain a confession of guilt from the suspect
The Reid Model of Interrogation:
Based on the book called Criminal Interrogation and Confession
Based on the idea that suspects do not confess to crimes they have committed because their fear of
the potential consequences of confessing outweighs the anxiety they feel when they remain
deceptive
Goal = make the consequences of confessing more desirable than the anxiety related to the
deception
Generally consists of a three part process:
1. Gather evidence related to the crime and to interview witnesses and victims
2. Conduct a non-accusatorial interview of the suspect to assess any evidence of deception
3. Conduct an accusatorial interrogation of the suspect if he or she is perceived to be guilty in
which a 9-step produce is implemented with the primary goal of securing a confession
9-Step Procedure:
1) the suspect is immediately confronted with his or her guilt
o if police do not have any evidence against the suspect at this time, the interrogator
can hide this fact and, if necessary, imply that such evidence exists
2) psychological themes are developed
o used to rationalize or excuse the crime
o EX. murderer may be told that the interrogators understand why he committed the
crime and that the crime was even justified
3) The interrogator interrupts any statements of denial by the suspect to ensure the suspect
does not get the upper hand in the interrogation
4) The interrogator overcomes the suspects objections to the charges
5) If the suspect becomes withdrawn, interrogator ensures that he/she as the suspect’s
attention
o Range of techniques can be used for this purpose
o EX. reducing the psychological distance between the interrogator and the suspect/
physically move closer
6) Interrogator exhibits sympathy and understanding, urges suspect to come clean
7) Suspect is offered explanation for the crime
o Makes self-incrimination easier to achieve
8) Once suspect accepts responsibility for the crime, typically by agreeing with one of the
alternative explanations, the interrogator develops this admission into a full confession for
the crime in question
9) Interrogator gets the suspect to write and sign a full confession
Minimization Techniques: soft shell tactics used by police that are designed to lull the suspect
into a false sense of security
EX. use of sympathy, excuses, justifications
Maximization Techniques: scare tactics that interrogators often use to intimidate a suspect
believed to be guilty
EX. exaggerating the seriousness of the offence, making false claims
Use of the Reid Model in Actual Interrogations:
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Are used but frequency of use varies across techniques/steps
Potential Problems with the Reid Model:
1. Detecting Deception
o Important because the actual interrogation begins only after an initial interview has
determined whether the suspect is guilty or not
o Reported a lack of research supporting peoples ability to detect deception
o Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects suspects by allowing them the right to silence and
legal counsel
o People have difficulty understand their rights as demonstrated by Eastwood and Snook 2010,
especially certain populations
2. Investigator Bias
o Believe the suspect is already guilty
o Can lead to coercive interrogations that cause suspects to appear more guilty to both the
interrogator and neutral observes, even when the suspect has committed no crime
Interrogation Practices and the Courts:
Decision to admit confession evidence into courts rests on the trial judge
Judge needs to determine if the confession was voluntary and the suspect was competent at the
time
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