Modeling the role of investigator bias, interrogation techniques, and suspect decision -making on the likelihood of confession

Fadia Monique Narchet, Florida International University


The purpose of the current study was to attempt to model various cognitive and social processes that are believed to lead to false confessions. More specifically, this study manipulated the variables of experimenter expectancy, guilt-innocence of the suspect, and interrogation techniques using the Russano et al. (2005) paradigm. The primary measure of interest was the likelihood of the participant signing the confession statement. By manipulating experimenter expectancy, the current study sought to further explore the social interactions that may occur in the interrogation room. In addition, in past experiments, the interrogator has typically been restricted to the use of one or two interrogation techniques. In the present study, interrogators were permitted to select from 15 different interrogation techniques when attempting to solicit a confession from participants. Consistent with Rusanno et al. (2005), guilty participants (94%) were more likely to confess to the act of cheating than innocent participants (31%). The variable of experimenter expectancy did not effect confessions rates, length of interrogation, or the type of interrogation techniques used. Path analysis revealed feelings of pressure and the weighing of consequences on the part of the participant were associated with the signing of the confession statement. The findings suggest the guilt/innocence of the participant, the participant's perceptions of the interrogation situation, and length of interrogation play a pivotal role in the signing of the confession statement. Further examination of these variables may provide researchers with a better understanding of the relationship between interrogations and confessions.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Criminology

Recommended Citation

Narchet, Fadia Monique, "Modeling the role of investigator bias, interrogation techniques, and suspect decision -making on the likelihood of confession" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3190959.