Currently viewing the tag: "confession"

CBP Officer Apprehends Suspect

…even if police interrogators and lawyers knew that some people could be coaxed into false confessions, how were they to separate the people who broke down and confessed from the people who broke down and agreed? To that end, Gudjonsson came up with the Gudjonsson suggestibility scale. It’s a series of tests, some meant to test a person’s memory under neutral conditions, and some – requiring acting ability from the interviewer – meant to see how easily the subject will abandon those memories.
The test measures two main factors, “yield” and “shift.” Yield is the degree to which a person will simply agree with leading questions. If a person asks “Don’t you think that X is a little too bossy to have that job,” it’s easier just to say “I guess,” than “No, I don’t agree.” We’ve all done it, if only to avoid an argument with a stranger on a bus. Sometimes people do it when the stakes are higher. –Esther Ingliss-Arkell

Fiction Writing Prompt: How easily would your character yield under interrogation? How easily could you character manipulate others into yielding? Write a scene that demonstrates your answer.

Journaling Prompt: How do you respond to leading questions? 

Art Prompt: Leading question

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience how they can be affected by leading questions and give them strategies to handle these situations.

Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Flickr

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Confessing to some bad behavior was more common than making a full confession among those who cheated as much as possible in the study.
But only telling part of the truth, as opposed to not confessing at all, was more likely to lead to increased feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety, the research found.
In other words, it’s best to commit to an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to confessing, said Pe’er, who conducted the research with Alessandro Acquisti, Ph.D., of Carnegie Mellon University, and Shaul Shalvi, Ph.D., from Ben-Gurion University in Israel. –Psych Central

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene where a character tries to get away with confessing only some of his wrongdoings.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about confessing when you’ve done wrong? Do you usually confess all or hold back.

Art Prompt: Confession

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the benefits of full confession. Give a personal story to illustrate the point.

Photo Credit: HumanSeeHumanDo on Flickr

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…police officers are just like journalists; sure, they’ll hear your story, but they much prefer to make up their own. -Anne Fortier, Juliet: A Novel

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a police interview that goes wrong.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about police officers? Why?

Art Prompt: Police Stories

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about the problem of coerced confessions and wrongful convictions.

Photo Credit: Ingy the Wingy on Flickr

Interrogation (255/365)


Confessions, when true, are an important tool in convicting criminals. But false confessions frequently play a major role in convicting innocent people. Experiments show that juries and potential witnesses are influenced by confessions even if they know they were coerced. Also in the lab, experienced polygraph examiners, fingerprint experts, and other experts, when informed of a confession, see what they expect to see — that is, evidence of guilt…

To back up these findings with real-life data, the psychologists thoroughly reviewed the trial records of 241 people exonerated by the Innocence Project since 1992. Of these, 59 — or 25 percent — involved false confessions, either by the defendant or an alleged accomplice. One-hundred eighty — or 75 percent — involved eyewitness mistakes. The analysis revealed that multiple errors turned up far more often in false confession cases than in eyewitness cases: 69 percent versus fewer than half. And two thirds of the time, the confession came first, followed by other errors, namely invalid forensic science and government informants.

Kassin believes the findings “greatly underestimate the problem” because of what never shows up in court: evidence of innocence. Told the suspect confessed, “alibi witnesses back out, thinking they’re mistaken,” police stop searching for the real culprit. “We show that confessions bring in other incriminating evidence that is false. What we don’t see is a tendency to suppress exculpatory evidence.”

The study throws doubt on a critical legal concept designed to safeguard the innocent: corroboration. Appeals courts uphold a conviction even if a false confession is discovered, as long as other evidence — say, forensics or other witness testimony — independently shows guilt. “What these findings suggest is that there may well be the appearance of corroboration,” says Kassin, “but it is false evidence that was corrupted by the confession — not independent at all.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about a coerced confession and its fallout.

Journaling Prompt: What would it take to get you to admit to something you didn’t do?

Art Prompt: Coercion

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about a coerced confession that was recanted and how the case ended up.

Photo Credit: andrewrennie on Flickr