Guilt assessment after retracted voluntary and coerced-compliant confessions in combination with exculpatory or ambiguous evidence

Teresa Schneider*, Melanie Sauerland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We investigated how voluntary confessions, coerced-compliant confessions, and no-confessions influenced guilt assessments in combination with other exculpatory or ambiguous evidence. In three experiments (total N = 808), participants studied case information and provided guilt assessments. As expected, in Experiment 1 and 2a, (i) voluntary confessions to protect a family member elicited stronger guilt attributions than no-confessions and (ii) ambiguous evidence led to stronger guilt attributions than exculpatory evidence. In Experiment 2b, voluntary confessions to protect a group-member (but not to protect a family-member) elicited stronger guilt attributions than no-confessions. Exculpatory eyewitness evidence elicited stronger guilt attributions than exculpatory DNA evidence and participants assigned more weight to exculpatory DNA than eyewitness evidence. Participants were able to discount coerced-compliant confessions when they received information about the interrogations (Experiments 2a/b), but did not consistently consider risk factors for (voluntary) false confessions outside the interrogation room when assessing guilt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-398
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume37
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • correspondence bias
  • false confessions
  • verdict
  • voluntary blame-taking
  • FALSE CONFESSION
  • CONFIRMATION BIAS
  • DNA EVIDENCE
  • DECISION
  • JURORS
  • INTERROGATIONS
  • ACCURACY
  • MEMORY
  • BLAME
  • JURY

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