How factors present during the immediate interrogation situation produce short-sighted confession decisions.

Stephanie Madon, Yueran Yang, Laura Smalarz, Max Guyll, Kyle C. Scherr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Suspects have a preexisting vulnerability to make short-sighted confession decisions, giving disproportionate weight to proximal, rather than distal, consequences. The findings of the current research provided evidence that this preexisting vulnerability is exacerbated by factors that are associated with the immediate interrogation situation. In Experiment 1 (N = 118), a lengthy interview exacerbated participants' tendency to temporally discount a distal consequence when deciding whether or not to admit to criminal and unethical behaviors. This effect was especially pronounced among less serious behaviors. In Experiment 2 (N = 177), participants' tendency to temporally discount a distal consequence when making admission decisions was exacerbated by the expectation of a lengthy interview; an effect that became stronger the longer the interview continued. These findings suggest that conditions of the immediate interrogation situation may capitalize on an already-present vulnerability among suspects to make short-sighted confession decisions, thereby increasing the chances that even innocent suspects might confess.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-74
Number of pages15
JournalLaw and human behavior
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • confessions
  • police interrogation
  • temporal discounting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'How factors present during the immediate interrogation situation produce short-sighted confession decisions.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this