Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Adults: Ethical and Legal Perspectives

Volume 63 of the series International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine pp 23-38


Why People with FASD Fall for Manipulative Ploys: Ethical Limits of Interrogators’ Use of Lies

  • Stephen GreenspanAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut Email author 
  • , John H. DriscollAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut

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People with FASD are easily manipulated by others, and such social vulnerability is a major reason why they are so likely to get into serious legal and other forms of difficulty. Police interrogations are also manipulative, in that a detective is attempting to use various ploys—including deceptive statements–to persuade someone to do something he is initially reluctant to do, namely admit to having committed a criminal act. In this paper, the authors use an audiotape of an actual interrogation of a young man with FASD who initially strongly denied guilt, to better understand the way interrogative manipulations (including lies) were used to break his will and get him to confess to a crime which he may or may not have committed.