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Minimization and maximization techniques: assessing the perceived consequences of confessing and confession diagnosticity

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Identifying interrogation strategies that minimize the likelihood of obtaining false information, without compromising the ability to elicit true information, is a challenge faced by both law enforcement and scientists. Previous research suggests that minimization and maximization techniques may be perceived by a suspect as an expectation of leniency and a threat of harsher punishment, respectively, and that these approaches may be associated with false confessions. The current studies examine whether it is possible to distinguish between minimization and maximization techniques that do or do not influence a suspect's perceptions of the consequences of confessing. Results indicate that techniques that manipulate the perceived consequences of confessing influence both the decision to confess and the diagnostic value of confession evidence.

Keywords: confession; interrogation; interviewing; police interviewing techniques; social perception

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology,University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso,Texas, USA 2: Roger Williams University, Bristol,Rhode Island, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2012


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