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Why Would They Falsely Confess? Why on earth would an innocent person falsely confess to committing a crime? To most people, it just doesn't seem logical. But it is logical, say experts, if you understand what can happen in a police inte

Why Would They Falsely Confess?

  Why on earth would an innocent person falsely confess to committing a crime? To most people, it just doesn't seem logical. But it is logical, say experts, if you understand what can happen in a police interrogation (审讯) room

  Under the right conditions, people's minds are susceptible (易受影响的) to influence, and the pressure put on suspects during police grillings (盘问) is enormous. (1) "The pressure is important to understand, because otherwise it's impossible to understand why someone would say he did something he didn't do. The answer is: to put an end to an uncomfortable situation that will continue until he does confess."

  Developmental psychologist Allison Redlich recently conducted a laboratory study to determine ho~ likely people are to confess to, things they didn't do. (2) The researchers then intentionally crashed the computers and accused the participants of hitting the "alt" key to see if they would sign a statement falsely taking responsibility.

  Redlich's findings clearly demonstrate how easy it can be to get people to falsely confess: 59 percent of the young adults in the experiment immediately confessed. (3) Of the 15- to 16-year-olds, 72 percent signed confessions, as did 78 percent of the 12- to 13-year-olds.

  "There's no question that young people are more at risk," says' Saul Kassin, a psychology professor at Williams College, who has done similar studies with similar results. (4)

  Both Kassin and Redlich note that the entire "interrogation" in their experiments consisted of a simple accusation-not hours of aggressive questioning-and still, most participants falsely confessed.

  Because of the stress of a police interrogation, they conclude, suspects can become convinced that falsely confessing is the easiest way out of a bad situation. (5)

  A In her experiment, participants were seated at computers and told not to hit the "alt" key, because doing so would crash the systems.

  B "In some ways," says Kassin, "false confession becomes a rational decision."

  C "It's a little like somebody's working on them with a dental (牙齿的) drill," says Franklin Zimring, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

  D "But adults are highly vulnerable too."

  E How could an innocent person admit to doing something he didn't do?

  F Redlich also found that the younger the participant, the more likely a false confession.

  参考答案:1. C 2. A 3. F 4. D 5. B


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