Bias and Accuracy in the Evaluation of Confession Evidence

Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 20)


The preceding chapters in this volume have focused primarily on how interrogations are conducted and have shed light on which of the standard investigative approaches used by police are most problematic with regard to producing coerced and/or false confessions. In this chapter we move from the interrogation room to the courtroom to consider the question of how confession evidence is evaluated once it is introduced at trial. If trial fact finders (judges and jurors) are in fact good at identifying and discounting problematic confessions—that is, ones that are indeed coerced or false—then the damage caused by errors made in the earlier stages of the criminal-justice process may be contained to some degree. We will review the empirical evidence that speaks to this issue. In addition, we will examine the related question of how evaluations of confession evidence are affected by the format in which it is presented. This issue of presentation format is an especially timely one as many states are currently grappling with how best to capture and later present what transpires during interrogations so as to minimize the possibility of unreliable confessions exerting any influence on trial verdicts.


Experimental Social Psychology Causal Judgment Mock Juror Police Interrogation Applied Social Psychology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOhio UniversityAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ToledoToledoSpain

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