The Impact Of Evidence Presentation On False Confessions

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alexandria Louise Brown Mackinnon (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Twila Wingrove

Abstract: A confession is one of the most influential kinds of evidence offered at trial (Leo, 2009). The weight of a confession on trial outcomes warrants careful attention. Interrogation practices need to be carefully examined to ensure individuals are not being manipulated into falsely confessing. Previous research has demonstrated that when presented with evidence in stressful scenarios, an average individual can be pressured into falsely confessing (Kassin & Kiechel, 1996). The current study explored the effects different types of evidence had on false confession rates. It was believed that the more concrete the evidence was (i.e., videotape), the more likely a person would falsely confess. Participants were accused of cheating by using the answer key that “accidently” emerged on the computer screen during a recall test. Four conditions (three types of evidence and a control condition) were presented to participants by the researcher. The rate at which individuals falsely confessed under all of the conditions was recorded. A binary logistic regression revealed that none of the evidence conditions elicited significantly more false confessions than the control condition. The need to escape an ambiguous and stressful situation as described by Davis and Leo (2012) maybe used to explain the pattern of results.

Additional Information

Mackinnon, A. (2016). The Impact Of Evidence Presentation On False Confessions. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2016
false confessions, interrogations, evidence

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