Psychological Interrogation & False Confessions: A Literature Review Research Paper by KatiaK

Psychological Interrogation & False Confessions: A Literature Review
A review of literature on psychological interrogation methods, false confessions and their implications.
# 10100 | 4,738 words | 28 sources | APA | 2001 | CA

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The paper shows that while the use of psychological interrogation methods is currently permissible by the courts in Canada, Great Britain and the U.S.A., many researchers argue that psychological interrogation is, in essence, no different than blatant coercion. Confession Law has slowly evolved over time alongside the evolution of interrogation methods. The paper discusses how prior to the 18th Century, English Common Law accepted confessions without any restrictions, which allowed confessions extracted through torture to be accepted as viable representations of objective truth. Today, the bottom line on the admissibility of confessions is that they are "typically excluded if elicited by physical violence, by a threat of harm or punishment, by a promise of leniency or immunity from prosecution, or by failure to notify a suspect of his or her constitutional rights to counsel and silence" (Kassin & McNall, 1991). The paper shows that despite these seemingly stringent laws regarding the admissibility of confessions, psychological interrogation methods are adept at circumventing the law, and continue to employ methods that run the risk of eliciting false confessions. This paper reviews the literature on Psychological Interrogation methods, false confessions and the implications of both.

Table of Contents:
Psychological Interrogation Tactics
Inside the Interrogation Room
Custodial Legal Advice & The Right to Silence
Psychological Interrogation Functioning as Coercion
Police Interrogations and Confessions
Communicating Promises and Threats by Pragmatic Implication
False Confessions
Occurrence of False Confessions
Creation of False Confessions
An Empirical Study On Recall
Discourse Study
Interrogative Suggestibility & Delinquent Boys
Psychological Characteristics of False Confessors
Consequences of False Confessions

From the Paper:

"Interrogation, as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is the act of "questioning; formally and systematically." Interrogations within criminal justice systems are used to gather information relevant to investigations, and more importantly, to elicit confessions from suspects. Methods of interrogation have changed drastically throughout history, but the ultimate goal of obtaining confessions has held constant. While the whips and chains of the past have now exited the western world's interrogation rooms, many scholars argue that today's suspects are still subjected to psychological tortures. Psychological Interrogation is the most recent approach used by law enforcement officials to extract information from suspects."

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Psychological Interrogation & False Confessions: A Literature Review (2003, January 29) Retrieved September 29, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Psychological Interrogation & False Confessions: A Literature Review" 29 January 2003. Web. 29 September. 2022. <>