Social Psychology Essay

Total Length: 1558 words ( 5 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 5

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.....starting point for research, I am selecting Scenario Two: Police Interrogations and False Confessions. The reason why I am selecting scenario two is that I have some degree of familiarity with the subject, and am fascinated by the ways people behave under pressure from authority figures, particularly law enforcement. I am also interested in scenario three related to the psychological aspects of disaster preparedness, but am more interested and concerned with criminal justice generally. Therefore, I narrowed down my selection of the scenarios mainly because of personal interest and curiosity about the subject matter, which motivates my desire to conduct the research necessary to write a proposal and complete the report.



Scenario Two described involving false confessions raises several points about the ethics of criminal justice, and how officers lie in order to extract information from suspects or witnesses. That information should not be admissible in court but sometimes is because of the defendant's lack of access to good legal counsel or lack of familiarity with the law. My role in this scenario is not to discuss criminal justice ethics, but to comment more about the social psychology of false confessions, from multiple angles and points of view.



To conduct the research, I will begin with the articles suggested at the end of the scenario.
These two articles provide ample empirical support for the social psychological phenomena at stake in the scenario. The Gudjonssen & Pearse (2011) article talks about interrogation techniques commonly used by law enforcement in the United States, including the Reid technique, as well as techniques more common in the United Kingdom, which has a similar criminal justice system in general. The UK uses the PEACE model, according to Gudjonssen & Pearse (2011), who conclude that the Reid technique is actually inferior to the PEACE model in several ways, particularly in that it is confrontational and is based on a presumption of guilt, which tends to lead to more false confessions. The Kassin (2012) article uses the Amanda Knox trial to launch a discussion about how to minimize false confessions. Kassin (2012) shows how false confessions create chain reactions and confirmation biases. I may also need to conduct additional research on topics like confirmation bias, obedience to authority, compliance, social influence, and (interrogative) suggestibility, as indicated in the scenario description. After the research, I will present my conclusions and offer recommendations as a hypothetical psychologist working for the chief of police. I do not foresee any significant barriers to conducting the research, because this is a subject that has been fairly well documented.


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