Extracting Confessions Ethically in Interrogations

Posted on May 8, 2015

Photo: flickr

How to get someone to confess their crimes? Coercive, forceful, confrontational methods? This will lead to the detainee shutting down. Studies suggest the facilitation of social influence and cooperation will work better.

What will be an ethical way to extract the information needed?

1. Build rapport. Empathy could allow one to open up more as compared to a cold and accusatory interrogator who does not give allowance to any explanation. There needs to be cooperation from the target as well. Thus, use empathy.

2. Fill in the blank. Asking direct questions might not be really helping. If you were to tell your target a story, the target will believe you have already known about the situation. Thus, the guilty party will be fill in the blanks and supply details and corrections. It will tend to elicit more information.

3. Surprise them. Liars tend to be under high cognitive strain and they might be prepared with answers due to expectation of being under suspicion. Thus, they practice their answers. However, if you were to ask them something unexpected, surprising them, they will stumble when put on the spot.

4. Ask for the story backward. Liars tend to say the same story over and over again to avoid any loopholes. However, those who say the truth will tend to add more details over time. Reverse telling the same story would be harder for liars. As they might simplify or contradict the story, while for truth tellers, they recall easily in comparison

5. Withhold evidence until the crucial moment. Try not to confront immediately with any evidence you have, as the individual tend to gets hostile and aggressive.


Source material from Scientific American


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