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Chapter 2

Psychology 2990A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Miranda Warning, Soft Sell, Suggestibility

Course Code
Doug Hazlewood

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Psych 2990A
Chapter 2: The Psychology of Police Investigations
tasks such as collection and evaluation of investigative information is an example of
where psychology is relevant
Police Interrogations
in some countries, people may be convicted solely on their confession, but in Canada
and US, a confession usually has to be backed up by some other form of evidence
police interrogation: a process whereby the police interview a suspect for the
purpose of fathering evidence and obtaining a confession
a very coercive environment ; and has been historically
police officers often view these techniques as a necessary evil in order to obtain
confessions from guilty persons.
this could increase false confessions
The Reid Model of Interrogation
Reid Model: a nine-step model of interrogation used frequently in North America to
extract confessions from suspects
consists of a three-part process
first stage is to gather evidence related to the crime and to interview witnesses and
second stage is to conduct a nonaccusatorial interview of the suspect to assess
any evidence of deception
third stage is to conduct an accusatorial interrogation of the suspect (if he or she is
perceived to be guilty) in which a nine-step procedure is implemented, with the
primary objective being to secure a confession (p. 41)
the goal of the Reid Model is to make the consequences of confessing more desirable
than the anxiety related to deception
techniques used in the Reid Model of interrogation can be broken down into two
general categories:
minimization techniques: soft sell tactics used by police interrogators that are
designed to lull the suspect into a false sense of security
maximization techniques: scare tactics used by police interrogators that are
designed to intimidate a suspect believed to be guilty
Potential Problems with the Reid Model of Interrogation
Deception detection: detecting when someone is being deceptive (lying)
the decision to commence a full-blown police interrogation relies on an accurate
assessment of whether the suspect is being deceptive or when he or she claims to be
there are procedural safeguards in place to protect an individual during the transition
into the interrogation phase of the Reid Model

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there are Miranda rights - include a 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 them
research has demonstrated that Miranda-type rights may not provide the protection
that they are assumed to provide
one significant problem is that many individuals do not understand the right that
are read to them
police in some jurisdictions have been found to minimize the importance of the
Miranda process and to use rapport-building techniques in an attempt to increase
Investigator Bias
investigator bias: bias that can result when police officers enter an interrogation
setting already believing that the suspect is guilty
problem is that when people form a belief about something before they enter a
situation, they often unknowingly seek out and interpret information in that situation
in a way that verifies their initial belief
interrogators with guilty expectations use a higher frequency of interrogation
techniques compared with interrogators with innocent expectations
suspects had fairly accurate perceptions of interrogator behaviour (ie. innocent
suspects believed their interrogators were exerting more pressure)
Interrogation Practices and the Courts
the decisions to admit confession evidence into court rests on the trial judge
key issues a judge must consider is whether the confession was voluntary and
whether the defendant was competent when they provided the confession
Recent Changes to Interrogation Procedures
changes are most obvious in England, where courts have restricted the use of many
techniques found in the Reid Model of interrogation
some police agencies in England use the PEACE model to guide their interrogations
acronym for planning and preparation, engage and explain, account, closure, and
provides an inquisitorial framework rather than an accusatorial framework
interview method is called conversation management, which encourages
information gathering more than securing a confession
have abandoned the term ʻinterrogationʼ and have adopted the term ʻinvestigative
video-recording techniques are becoming more widely used
research suggests that we must be careful in the use of video cameras, because
even the slightest angle can have a significant impact on the jurorʼs verdicts
False Confessions
false confession: a confession that is either intentionally fabricated or is not based on
actual knowledge of the facts that form its content
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