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Published in: Psychological Reports, Volume 100, Number 2, 2007


Evidence obtained through the process of interrogation is frequently undermined by what can be perceived as overzealous interrogation tactics. Although the majority of psychologically oriented tactics are legally permissible, they nonetheless contribute to innocent suspects confessing to crimes they did not commit. The present study examined the effect of expert testimony and interrogation tactics on perceptions of a confession. 182 undergraduates read a transcript of a homicide trial that varied based on interrogation tactic: implicit threat of punishment (maximization) or leniency (minimization) and expert witness testimony (presence or absence of expert testimony). Analysis indicated that the type of interrogation tactic used in obtaining the confession affected participants' perceptions of the coerciveness of the interrogation process.