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    Interrogations lead to lying

    Who I am
    Robert Maurer
    @robertmaurer
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    You believe that interrogations favor confessions
    false? Everyone would probably answer yes. Indeed you are right, but
    maybe you are making a slight association between interrogation and torture, that
    it's not the same.

    One of the films that palpably highlights the
    relationship between torture and false confessions is "the last inquisitor", with
    protagonist Javier Bardem. In this film, the father of a young woman who was
    taken prisoner by the Spanish Inquisition, she makes Bardem sign a confession
    in which he claims to be a donkey (precisely the animal). His
    intention? Show him that, under torture, anyone would confess to any
    atrocities, even the most unlikely. Anyway, now I will refer to other confessions:
    precisely those that occur daily in the courts and that
    have as their objective the conviction of the accused. Jessica Klaver, University psychologist
    Simon Fraser, in Canada, has designed a very peculiar experiment, in which
    not only is it analyzed how interrogations induce lying but also in
    what extent this takes place. For this purpose, two techniques of
    interrogation: "minimization" (the one where the damage produced is minimized
    from the behavior of the accused) and "maximization" (where the
    damage and the severity of the actions). Two hundred students were invited to take part in
    a test of personality and ability in mechanography. At the precise moment in which
    the mechanographic task had to be developed, they were warned that if
    had pressed the "Alt" key could have caused the breakage of the
    computer and as a result all data would be lost. When the students pressed the corresponding key
    at the "z", very close to the "Alt" key, the researchers simulated the breaking of the
    computer and accused them of pressing the forbidden key. The next step was to submit the
    students in minimization interrogations in which the typical sentences were: “not
    worry ”,“ it was just an accident ”, sooner or later it had to happen”, “the
    program was already old. " While other students were subjected to
    maximization interrogations in which an attempt was made to make them heard
    guilty with phrases like: "you must have pressed the button", "on this
    computers over 50 people passed this week and it hadn't happened
    nothing". The results? 43% of the students signed one
    confession in which he swore false, that is, that they had pressed the "Alt" key.
    But… contrary to what one might have imagined, the higher index of
    confessions (4 times greater) occurred among the students they had
    supported the minimization interrogations. Because? Probably because in real life the techniques of
    minimization give a false sense of security, as they offer moral excuses
    or legal ones to grab onto. They also help to conceptualize the
    actions as accidental. In short, they transfer the blame to the victim and
    underline the little importance of the charges attributed to the guilty, subtracting him
    part of the responsibility. In this way, the person feels freer than
    take responsibility, even if it is not his. A second surprising result is that
    female students were more likely to fake theirs
    confessions, as much as the students as in the suggestibility test
    they had achieved the highest score.
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