Advertisement

Bias and Accuracy in the Evaluation of Confession Evidence

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arizona v. Fulminante, 111 S. Ct. 1246 (1991).Google Scholar
  2. Arkin, R., and Duval, S. (1975). Focus of attention and causal attributions of actor and observers. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 11, 427–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bodenhausen, G. V., Kramer, G. P., and Süsser, K. (1994). Happiness and stereotypic thinking in social judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 621–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bornstein, B. H. (1999). The ecological validity of jury simulations: Is the jury still out? Law and Human Behavior, 23, 75–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cacioppo, J. T., Petty, R. E., Feinstein, J., and Jarvis, W. B. G. (1996). Dispositional differences in cognitive motivation: The life and times of individuals varying in need for cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 197–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cassell, P. G. (1996). All benefits, no costs: The grand illusion of Miranda’s defenders. Northwestern University Law Review, 90, 1084–1124.Google Scholar
  7. Drizin, S. A., and Colgan, B. A. (2001). Let the cameras roll: Mandatory videotaping of interrogations is the solution to Illinois’ problem of false confessions. Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, 32,337–424.Google Scholar
  8. Dwyer, J., Neufeld, P., and Scheck, B. (2000). Actual innocence: Five days to execution and other dispatches from the wrongly convicted. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  9. Feild, H. S., and Barnett, N. J. (1978). Simulated jury trials: Students vs. “real” people as jurors. Journal of Social Psychology, 104, 287–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fiske, S. T., Kenny, D. A., and Taylor, S. E. (1982). Structural models for the mediation of salience effects on attribution. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 18, 105–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fletcher, G. J. O., Danilovics, P., Fernandez, G., Peterson, D., and Reeder, G. D. (1986). Attributional complexity: An individual differences measure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 875–884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Funder, D. C. (1982). On the accuracy of dispositional vs. situational attributions. Social Cognition, 1, 205–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Funder, D. C. (1987). Errors and mistakes: Evaluating the accuracy of social judgment. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 75–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Geller, W. A. (1992). Police videotaping of suspect interrogations and confessions: A preliminary examination of issues and practices (A report to the National Institute of Justice). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  15. Gordon, R. A., Rozelle, R. M., and Baxter, J. C. (1988). The effect of applicant age, job level, and accountability on the evaluation of job applicants. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 41, 20–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Grano, J. D. (1993). Confessions, truth, and the law. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Gudjonsson, G. ( 1992 ). The psychology of interrogations, confessions and testimony. Chichester, England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  17. Guthrie, C., Rachlinski, J. J., and Wistrich, A. J. (2002). Judging by heuristic: Cognitive illusions in judicial decision making. Judicature, 86, 44–50.Google Scholar
  18. Harvey, J. H., Town, J. P., and Yarkin, K. L. (1981). How fundamental is the “fundamental attribution error”? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 345–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Horowitz, I. A., and Willging, T. E. (1984). The psychology of law: Integrations and applications. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  20. Johnson, G. (1997). False confessions and fundamental fairness: The need for electronic record-ing of custodial interrogations. Boston University Public Interest Law Journal, 6, 719–751.Google Scholar
  21. Jones, E. E. (1979). The rocky road from acts to dispositions. American Psychologist, 34,107–117. Jussirn, L. (1991). Social perception and social reality: A reflection-construction model. Psy-chological Review, 98, 54–73.Google Scholar
  22. Kamisar, Y. (1995). On the “fruits” of Miranda violations, coerced confessions, and compelled testimony. Michigan Law Review, 93, 929–1010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kamisar, Y., LaFave, W., and Israel, J. (1994). Modern criminal procedure( 8th ed. ). St. Paul, MN: West.Google Scholar
  24. Kaplan, M. F., and Miller, L. E. (1978). Reducing the effects of juror bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 1443–1455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kassin, S. M. (1997). The psychology of confession evidence. American Psychologist, 52, 221–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kassin, S. M., and Kiechel, K. L. (1996). The social psychology of false confessions: Compliance, internalization, and confabulation. Psychological Science, 7, 125–128.Google Scholar
  27. Kassin, S. M., and McNall, K. (1991). Police interrogations and confessions. Law and Human Behavior, 15, 231–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kassin, S. M., and Sukel, H. (1997). Coerced confessions and the jury: An experimental test of the “harmless error” rule. Law and Human Behavior, 21, 27–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kassin, S. M., and Wrightsman, L. S. (1979). On the requirements of proof: The timing of judicial instruction and mock juror verdicts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1877–1887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kassin, S. M., and Wrightsman, L. S. (1980). Prior confessions and mock juror verdicts. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 10, 133–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kassin, S. M., and Wrightsman, L. S. (1981). Coerced confessions, judicial instruction, and mock juror verdicts. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 11, 489–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kassin, S. M., and Wrightsman, L. S. (1985). Confession evidence. In S. Kassin and L. Wrightsman(Eds.), The psychology of evidence and trial procedure. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Kerr, N. L. (1978). Severity of prescribed penalty and mock jurors’ verdicts. Journal of Per-sonality and Social Psychology, 36, 1431–1442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Konecni, V. J., and Ebbeson, E. B. (1979). External validity of research in legal psychology. Law and Human Behavior, 3, 39–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kruglanski, A. W., Sr Ajzen I. (1983). Bias and error in human judgment. European Journal of Social Psychology, 13, 1–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lassiter, G. D. (2002). Illusory causation in the courtroom. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 204–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lassiter, G. D., Beers, M. J., Geers, A. L., Handley, 1. M., Munhall, P. J., and Weiland, P. E. (2002). Further evidence for a robust point-of-view bias in videotaped confessions. Current Psychology, 21, 265–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lassiter, G. D., and Clark, J. K. (2003). [Observers’ ability to differentiate true from false confes-sions as a function of presentation format.]. Unpublished raw data.Google Scholar
  39. Lassiter, G. D., and Diamond, S. S. (2003). [Are judges also affected by the camera perspective bias in videotaped confessions?]. Unpublished raw data.Google Scholar
  40. Lassiter, G. D., Geers, A. L., Handley, I. M., Weiland, P. E., and Munhall, P. J. (2002). Videotaped interrogations and confessions: A simple change in camera perspective alters verdicts in simulated trials. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 867–874.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lassiter, G. D., Geers, A. L., Munhall, P. J., Handley, I. M., and Beers, M. J. (2001). Videotaped confessions: Is guilt in the eye of the camera? In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, (Vol. 33, pp. 189–254 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  42. Lassiter, G. D., Geers, A. L., Munhall, P. J., Ploutz-Snyder, R. J., and Breitenbecher, D. L. (2002). Illusory causation: Why it occurs. Psychological Science, 13, 299–305.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lassiter, G. D., and Irvine, A. A. (1986). Videotaped confessions: The impact of camera point of view on judgments of coercion. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 16, 268–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lassiter, G. D., Munhall, P. J., Berger, I. P., Weiland, P. E., and Handley, I. M., and Geers, A. L. (2003). Attributional complexity and the camera perspective bias in videotaped confessions.Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  45. Lassiter, G. D., Munhall, P. J., Geers, A. L., Weiland, P. E., and Handley, I. M. (2001). Accountability and the camera perspective bias in videotaped confessions. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 1, 53–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lassiter, G. D., Ratcliff, J. J., Ware, L., and Irvin, C. (2003). [Does the camera perspective bias manifest with real confession evidence?]. Unpublished raw data.Google Scholar
  47. Lassiter, G. D., Slaw, R. D., Briggs, M. A., Sr Scanlan, C. R. (1992). The potential for bias in videotaped confessions. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 22, 1838–1851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lego v. Twomey, 404 U. S. 477 (1972).Google Scholar
  49. Leo, R. A. (1996). The impact of Miranda revisited. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 86, 621–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Leo, R. A., and Ofshe, R. J. (1998). The consequences of false confessions: Deprivations of liberty and miscarriages of justice in the age of psychological interrogation. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 88, 429–496.Google Scholar
  51. MacCoun, R. J. (1989). Experimental research on jury decision-making. Science, 244, 1046–1050. Mathes, W. C., and DeVitt, E. J. ( 1965 ). Federal jury practice and instructions. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing.Google Scholar
  52. McArthur, L. Z. (1980). Illusory causation and illusory correlation: Two epistemological accounts. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 6, 507–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. McArthur, L. Z. (1981). What grabs you? The role of attention in impression formation and causal attribution. In E. T. Higgins, C. P. Herman, and M. P. Zanna (Eds.), Social cognition: The Ontario symposium (Vol. 1, pp. 201–241 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  54. Newtson, D., Rindner, R. J., Miller, R., and LaCross (1978). Effects of availability of feature changes on behavior segmentation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 14, 379–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Petty, R. E., and Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). The Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology(Vol. 19, pp. 123–205 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  56. Ross, L. (1977). The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortions in the attribution process. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology(Vol. 10, pp. 174–220 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  57. Siegel-Jacobs, K., and Yates, J. F. (1996). Effects of procedural and outcome accountability on judgment quality. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 65, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Simonson, I., and Nye, P. (1992). The effect of accountability on susceptibility to decision errors.Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 51, 416–446.Google Scholar
  59. Smith, E. R., and Miller, F. D. (1979). Salience and the cognitive mediation of attribution. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 2240–2252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Storms, M. D. (1973). Videotape and the attribution process: Reversing actors’ and observers’ points of view. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27, 165–175.Google Scholar
  61. Taylor, S. E., and Fiske, S. T. (1975). Point of view and perceptions of causality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 439–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Taylor, S. E., Sr Fiske, S. T. (1978). Salience, attention, and attribution: Top of the head phenomena. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology(Vol. 11, pp. 249–288 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  63. Tetlock, P. E. (1985). Accoumtability: A social check on the fundamental attribution error. Social Psychology Quarterly, 48, 227–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Thompson, L. (1995). They saw a negotiation: Partisanship and involvement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 839–853.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Visher, C. A. (1987). Juror decision making: The importance of evidence. Law and Human Behavior, 11, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wells, G. L. (1980). Asymmetric attributions for compliance: Reward vs. punishment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 16, 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wilson, T. D., and Brekke, N. (1994). Mental contamination and mental correction: Unwanted influences on judgments and evaluations. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 117–142.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zebrowitz, L. A. (1990). Social perception. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations