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Effects of Interrogator Tactics and Camera Perspective Bias on Evaluations of Confession Evidence

by Schmidt, Heather C.

Abstract (Summary)
The task of evaluating confession evidence, assigned to judges and frequently jurors, is a process fraught by perceptual bias and error. Evaluators are subject to the influence of situational constraints, including the focus of the camera recording the interrogation and the types of interrogation tactics employed. It was hypothesized that presentation format (i.e., suspect-focus video, equal-focus video, detective-focus video, transcript) would either help or hinder the observer in evaluating a confession featuring specific interrogation tactics (i.e., promise of leniency, threat of punishment, minimization, maximization, no tactic). Although interactions were not obtained, differences attributable to the tactic’s valence (positive versus negative), subtle versus blatant nature of the pressure, gender of the evaluator, and the presentation format emerged independently. These findings suggest that the actions of the interrogator and the manner in which confession evidence is presented may influence critical judgments of a suspect’s guilt and the voluntariness of the confession.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:interrogation tactics camera perspective suspect focus presentation format confession evidence guilt voluntariness minimization

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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