False Confessions

A suspect may, in unusual instances, falsely confess to a crime. False confessions arise out of the interplay of the dynamic between police and suspect, the vulnerabilities of the suspect, and the context in which the interrogation occurs.

Among other things, a false confession may also arise from a suspectís internalization of an incriminating scenario when the suspect distrusts his memory and follows misleading suggestions of interrogators. Neuropsychological testing yields a better understanding of a suspectís objective memory and other relevant cognitive abilities. Other relevant psychological testing, of things such as suggestibility and compliance, supplements available history of interpersonal relatedness.

The discipline of false confessions is relatively new and hampered by a lack of developed research in the area. Interpretation and utilization of testing data must occur in consideration of the available history of the transition from a suspectís denial to acceptance of responsibility. History informs the false confession inquiry Ė psychological testing helps only to better explain the vulnerability of the suspect to confess falsely. The Forensic Panelís peer-review ensures, through the oversight of distinguished expert colleagues, that testing is applied judiciously and interpreted precisely where there is scientific support for its relevance. The Forensic Panel has internationally established expert sophistication in the assessment of false confession claims and in determining when psychological and neuropsychological testing is pertinent to the overall assessment.