Today science journalist Douglas Starr speaks to Fresh Air about how certain interrogation techniques elicit false confessions. He explains why people might confess falsely:
First of all, there’s a group of people who confess falsely to something because there’s something wrong with them. More than 200 people confessed to the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. … But there are external reasons as well. … If you’re held in a room and you think there’s no way out but you’re sure that the justice system with eventually exonerate you, you might actually confess just to get out of the situation. When you’re in a situation where [your] denial is batted away no matter what you say and they start lowering the barrier of confession … it becomes the easy way out. Interestingly, naive people, with faith in the justice system, tend to confess more because they’re sure something will work out on the other side. The trouble is confession trumps everything. Even physical evidence will bend once somebody’s confessed because confessions are so compelling.
Hear Starr’s interview or read more about these techniques here
Or read his article in this week’s issue of The New Yorker
photo via living fine art assoc.