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PSYC39H3 (204)
Chapter 3

Chapter 3 notes

2 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC39H3
Professor
David Nussbaum

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Chapter 3: Psychology of Police investigations
Police interrogation: a process whereby the police interview a suspect for the purpose of gathering evidence
and obtaining a confession
Reid model: a nine-step model of interrogation used frequently in North America to extract confessions from
suspects
oThe suspect is immediately confronted with his or her guilt. If the police do not have any evidence
against the suspect at this time, this fact can be hidden and, if necessary, the interrogator can pretend that
such evidence exists
oPsychological themes are then developed that allow the suspect to justify, rationalize, or excuse the
crime. For example, a suspected rapist may be told that the victim must have been asking for it.
oAny statements of denial by the suspect are interrupted by the interrogator to ensure the suspect does
not get the upper hand in the interrogation
oThe interrogator overcomes the suspect’s objections to the charges to a point at which the suspect
becomes quiet and withdrawn
oOnce the suspect has become withdrawn, the interrogator ensures that the suspect does not tune out of
the interrogation by reducing the psychological distance between the interrogator and the suspect, such as
by physically moving closer to the suspect
oSympathy and understanding are then exhibited by the interrogator and the suspect is urged to come
clean. For example, the interrogator might try to appeal to the suspect’s sense of decency
oThe suspect is offered face-saving explanations for the crime, which makes self-incrimination easier to
achieve
oOnce the suspect accepts responsibility for the crime (typically by agreeing with one of the face-saving
explanations), the interrogator develops this admission into a full confession
oFinally, the interrogator gets the suspect to write and sign a full confession
Minimization techniques: soft sell tactics used by police interrogators that are designed to lull the suspect
into a false sense of security
Maximization technique: scare tactics used by police interrogators that are designed to intimidate a suspect
believed to be guilty
Deception detection: detecting when someone is being deceptive
Investigator bias: bias that can result when police officers enter an interrogation setting already believing
that the suspect is guilty
oInvestigative biases led to coercive and pressure-filled interrogations, in turn, caused suspects to
appear more ‘defensive’ and ‘guilty’ even when they were not guilty of the crime being investigated
False confession: a confession that is either intentionally fabricated or is not based on actual
knowledge of the facts that form its content
Retracted confession: a confession that the confessor later declares to be false
Disputed confession: a confession that is later disputed at trial
Voluntary false confession: a false confession that is provided without any elicitation from
the police
oGudjonsson suggests that such confessions may arise out of
1. a morbid desire for notoriety
2. the person being unable to distinguish fact from fantasy
3. the need to make up for pathological feelings of guilt by receiving punishment,
4. a desire to protect somebody else from harm (which may particularly prevalent among
juveniles)
coerced-compliant false confession: a confession that results from a desire to escape a coercive interrogation
environment or gain a benefit promised by the police
coerced-internalized false confession: a confession that results from suggestive interrogation techniques,
whereby the confessor actually comes to believe he or she committed the crime
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Description
Chapter 3: Psychology of Police investigations Police interrogation: a process whereby the police interview a suspect for the purpose of gathering evidence and obtaining a confession Reid model: a nine-step model of interrogation used frequently in North America to extract confessions from suspects o The suspect is immediately confronted with his or her guilt. If the police do not have any evidence against the suspect at this time, this fact can be hidden and, if necessary, the interrogator can pretend that such evidence exists o Psychological themes are then developed that allow the suspect to justify, rationalize, or excuse the crime. For example, a suspected rapist may be told that the victim must have been asking for it. o Any statements of denial by the suspect are interrupted by the interrogator to ensure the suspect does not get the upper hand in the interrogation o The interrogator overcomes the suspects objections to the charges to a point at which the suspect becomes quiet and withdrawn o Once the suspect has become withdrawn, the interrogator ensures that the suspect does not tune out of the interrogation by reducing the psychological distance between the interrogator and the suspect, such as by physically moving closer to the suspect o Sympathy and understanding are then exhibited by the interrogator and the suspect is urged to come clean. For example, the interrogator might try to appeal to the suspects sense of decency o The suspect is offered face-saving explanations for the crime, which makes self-incrimination easier to achieve o Once the suspect accepts responsibility for the crime (typically by agreeing with one of the face-saving explanations), the interrogator develops this admission into a full confession o Finally, the interrogator gets the suspect to write and sign a full confession Minimization techniques:
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