A survey of people's attitudes and beliefs about false confessions

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The attitudes and beliefs of jury eligible individuals regarding false confessions were investigated in order to uncover potential biases. Survey respondents provided perceptions of factors related to false confessions (e.g. their frequency and likely situational and dispositional risk variables). Results indicate that people possess an awareness that false confessions can occur and believe that a confession should not be taken as an absolute indicator of guilt. However, their understanding of predisposing and situational factors that contribute to false confessions was incomplete, as was their understanding of interrogation practices. Furthermore, respondents showed a marked bias against believing that they personally would ever falsely confess, which is discussed in the context of potential inconsistencies between people's self-report and their actual behaviors in naturalistic situations.


Copyright 2008 Wiley

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Publication Title

Behavioral Sciences & the Law

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Henkel, L. A., Coffman, K. A., Dailey, B. A., & Elizabeth, M. (2008). A survey of people's attitudes and beliefs about false confessions. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 26(5), 555-584. doi:10.1002/bsl.826.



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