The United States' criminal justice system relies heavily on criminal confessions for investigating and prosecuting crimes. Past experiments have shown that false incriminating evidence can lead people to falsely confess to crimes they did not commit. In our study, we examined whether certain interrogation techniques would elicit false confessions. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three interrogation conditions that varied in the amount of false incriminating evidence presented with the accusation: minimization condition; gives the participants a sense a false security, maximization condition; intimidates the participants, or a control condition; yes or no questions. Participants were (falsely) accused of damaging data from the study and were told that they faced reprimand from the professor in charge of the study. Each participant was interrogated using a controlled script and was asked to sign a confession. The initial research found no significant difference in the number of confessions, but the trends were in the predicted direction suggesting that with more power (additional data), there might be a significant difference.
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference
©2003 by the University of Northern Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
Putrah, Travis and Wirth, Tamara
"Police Interrogations and Confessions: Minimization, Maximization and the Effects of Confessions,"
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference: Vol. 7:
1, Article 48.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/csbsproceedings/vol7/iss1/48