Recent DNA exonerations have shed light on the problem that people sometimes confess to crimes they did not commit. Drawing on police practices, laws concerning the admissibility of confession evidence, core principles of psychology, and forensic studies involving multiple methodologies, this White Paper summarizes what is known about police-induced confessions. In this review, we identify suspect characteristics (e.g., adolescence; intellectual disability; mental illness; and certain personality traits), interrogation tactics (e.g., excessive interrogation time; presentations of false evidence; and minimization), and the phenomenology of innocence (e.g., the tendency to waive Miranda rights) that influence confessions as well as their effects on judges and juries. This article concludes with a strong recommendation for the mandatory electronic recording of interrogations and considers other possibilities for the reform of interrogation practices and the protection of vulnerable suspect populations.
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For their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript, the authors are indebted to Ray Bull, Michael Lamb, Dan Lassiter, Timothy Moore, Edward Mulvey, Richard Petty, Daniel Schacter, Laurence Steinberg, Gary Wells, and two anonymous reviewers. We also want to thank Bill Thompson, AP-LS Chair of the Scientific Review Committee, not only for his useful comments but for his invaluable support and advice throughout the process.
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Kassin, S.M., Drizin, S.A., Grisso, T. et al. Police-Induced Confessions: Risk Factors and Recommendations. Law Hum Behav 34, 3–38 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10979-009-9188-6