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Stereotype Threat in Criminal Interrogations: Why Innocent Black Suspects are at Risk for Confessing Falsely

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Title: Stereotype Threat in Criminal Interrogations: Why Innocent Black Suspects are at Risk for Confessing Falsely
Author(s): Najdowski, Cynthia J.
Subject(s): stereotype threat race deception detection interrogation confession
Abstract: Little theoretical attention has been paid to evidence that Blacks are overrepresented in samples of false confessors compared to Whites. One possible explanation is that innocent Black suspects experience stereotype threat in interrogations and that this threat causes Black suspects to experience more arousal, self-regulatory efforts, and cognitive load compared to White suspects. These psychological mechanisms could lead innocent Black suspects to display more nonverbal behaviors associated with deception and, ironically, increase the likelihood that police investigators perceive them as guilty. In response, investigators might engage in more coercive tactics and exert more pressure to confess on Black suspects than White suspects. This could increase the need to escape interrogation and the likelihood of doing so by confessing falsely more for Blacks than for Whites. I present these hypotheses within a social psychological framework, and discuss future directions for testing the model and theoretical and practical implications of such work.
Issue Date: 2011-11
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Citation Info: Najdowski, C. J. 2011. Stereotype Threat in Criminal Interrogations: Why Innocent Black Suspects Are at Risk for Confessing Falsely. Psychology Public Policy and Law, 17(4): 562-591. DOI: 10.1037/a0023741
Type: Article
Description: © 2009 by American Psychological Association; Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record. DOI: 10.1037/a0023741
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10027/8336
ISSN: 1076-8971
Date Available in INDIGO: 2012-05-27
 

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