Why do people confess to crimes they did not commit? And, surely, this must be a rare phenomenon? In fact, it happens all the time. Psychologist Saul Kassin is the world’s leading expert on false confessions – why innocents confess, how interrogators force false confessions, and why we all believe them.
This conclusive and comprehensive book reveals the psychology behind why innocent men and women, intensely stressed and befuddled by the promises, threats, trickery, and deception of a police interrogation, are duped into confession, no matter how horrific the crime. Featuring riveting case studies, highly original research, work done in tandem with the Innocence Project, and quotes from individuals who confessed to crimes they did not commit, Duped tells the story of how this happens, how the system turns a blind eye, and how to make it stop.
Starting in the 1980’s, Dr. Kassin pioneered the scientific study of police interrogations and confessions. At that time, he distinguished three types of false confessions: voluntary, in which people claim responsibility for crimes they did not commit without outside prompting or pressure; compliant, in which the suspect capitulates to escape a stressful in-custody situation, avoid physical harm or legal punishment, or gain a promised or implied reward; and internalized, in which innocent but psychologically vulnerable suspects become confused, lost their grip on reality, and come to believe that they committed the crime in question. This taxonomy is still universally accepted today.
Examining famous cases like the Central Park jogger and the Amanda Knox case as well as the scores of ordinary people convicted based on their confessions who have been exonerated by Kassin’s work with the Innocence Project, along with groundbreaking research into how age, race, and station play into false confessions, Duped shows why this stigma persists and how we can reform the criminal justice system to be more just.
Saul Kassin is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Massachusetts Professor Emeritus at Williams College. Kassin pioneered the scientific study of police interrogations and confessions, distinguishing three types of false confessions – a taxonomy that is still universally accepted today. He then developed the first experimental laboratory paradigms used to examine how innocent people are duped into confession and the impact these confessions have in duping judges, juries, and forensic examiners. His work is cited in courts all over the world.
Kassin has received prestigious lifetime contribution awards from the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS), and the European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL). Along with hundreds of articles, Kassin has author several college textbooks—including Social Psychology, now in its Eleventh Edition—and scholarly books such as Confessions in the Courtroom, The Psychology of Evidence and Trial Procedure, and The American Jury on Trial: Psychological Perspectives. He and his work have been featured in national and international print and television media including the Oprah Winfrey Show, Science magazine, and Ken Burns’ 2012 film, The Central Park Five, among many others.