PSYC39H3 Study Guide - Confabulation, Suggestibility, Geographic Profiling

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3 Mar 2011
Chapter 3 The Psychology of Police Investigations
Confession evidence is often viewed as a prosecutors powerful weapon, in many
different countries conviction of persons may solely based on their confession
One of the goals of a police interrogation is to gain information that furthers the
investigation, such as the location of important evidence, the other goal is to obtain a
confession from the suspect
Police interrogation were extremely coercive in the past, whipping was used to bring
forth confessions, also jolts from stun guns were used
Problems with coercive interrogation practices include false confessions
Now a days we use more psychologically based interrogation techniques such as lying
about evidence, promising lenient treatment, and implying threats to loved ones
Police officers around the world receive specialized training in exactly how to extract
confessions from suspects
The Reid model is a commonly used interrogation training program for police officers in
the US and Canada. It is based upon a book by Inbau et al. called Criminal Interrogation
and Confessions.
The Reid model was a technique originally developed by John E. Reid, who
was a polygrapher.
Reid model consists of three-part process:
a)Gather evidence related to crime and to interview witnesses and
b)Conduct nonaccusational interview of the suspect to assess any
evidence of deception
c)Conduct accusational interrogation of the suspect, which a 9 step
1.Suspect is immediately confronted with his or her guilt
2.Psychological themes are then developed that allow the
suspect to justify, rationalize, or excuse the crime
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3.Any statements of denial by suspect is interrupted by
4.Interrogator overcomes the suspects objections
5.Once suspect has become withdrawn, the interrogator ensures
that the suspect does not tune out
6.Sympathy and understanding are then exhibited and suspect
is urged to come clean
7.Suspect is offered face-saving explanations for the crime
8.Suspect accepts responsibility of crime
9.Interrogator gets suspect to write and sign full confession
Reid model is based on the idea that suspects do not confess to their crimes because
they fear potential consequences that await them if they do
The goal of the Reid model is to make consequences of confessing more desirable than
the anxiety related to the deception
Techniques used in the Reid model of interrogation can be categorized into 2: friendly
and unfriendly techniques, Mutt and Jeff techniques, Good cop and Bad cop, or more
commonly known as minimization and maximization techniques.
Minimization techniques refer soft sell tactics used by police interrogators that
are designed to lull the suspect intro a false sense of security. Tactics include:
use of sympathy, excuses, and justification
Maximization techniques refer to scare tactics used by police interrogators that
are designed to intimidate a suspect believed to be guilty. Typically achieved by
exaggerating the seriousness of the offence by making false claims about
evidence the police supposedly have
There are 3 potential problems with the Reid model which include: deception detection,
investigator bias, and false confessions
1)Detecting Deception is detecting when someone is being deceptive. Police
interrogation relies heavily on an accurate assessment of whether the suspect is
being deceptive when he or she claims to be innocent
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Miranda rights, and the freedom of rights include the right to silence and a
right to counsel, and it is only when suspects knowingly and voluntarily
waive these rights that their statements can be used as evidence against
One significant problem is that police officers occasionally use techniques
to overcome the potential obstacles posed by requiring waivers to
Miranda type rights. Also many individuals do not understand the rights
that are read to them
2)Investigator bias bias that can result when police officers enter an interrogation
setting already believing that the suspect is guilty
There was a study conducted by researchers to test interrogator bias, and
they found that:
a)Interrogators with guilty expectations asked more questions
b)Interrogators with guilty expectations used higher frequency of
interrogation techniques
c)Interrogators with guilty expectations judged more suspects to be
d)Interrogators indicated that they exerted more pressure on
suspects to confess
e)Suspects had fairly accurate perceptions of interrogator behaviour
f)Neutral observers viewed interrogators with guilty expectation as
more coercive
Decision to admit confession evidence into court rests on the shoulders of the trail judge
Reason for using this criterion is that involuntary confessions and confessions provided
when a persons mind is unstable are more likely to be unreliable
Confessions resulting from explicit forms of coercion will not be admitted in the courts
Confessions that result from more subtle forms of psychological coercion are regularly
admitted into court
England has really changed its methods of interrogation, they use a method called
PEACE model to guide their interrogations planning, preparation, engage, explain,
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