Saul Kassin

Saul Kassin
City University of New York - John Jay College of Criminal Justice | John Jay CUNY · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

192
Publications
188,573
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
10,555
Citations
Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (192)
Article
In light of theory and research suggesting that plea decisions are made in the “Shadow of Trial,” we examined the extent to which defense attorneys’ plea recommendations are driven by their beliefs in the defendant’s guilt or innocence and by estimates of the probability-of-conviction at trial. In two studies, participants read a case file containi...
Book
PART I. Introduction 1. The Problem in a Nutshell 2. “Off-the-Books” False Confessions PART II. Why Innocent People Confess 3. “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!” - Police as Human Lie Detectors 4. Psychological Interrogation: Getting Inside your Head 5. Hollywood Confessions: Lights, Action, Camera PART III. Why We Believe False Confessions 6. Fore...
Article
Experimental psychologists have been exposing misconceptions about human cognition of relevance to law for well over a hundred years. This article focuses on to three myths that have contributed to wrongful convictions. In contrast to common beliefs, studies suggest that (1) police memory for conversations cannot be trusted in court, (2) forensic e...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decades, the psychological science has accumulated a large corpus of empirical knowledge about police interviews, deception detection, and suspects’ confessions. However, it is unclear whether European police forces’ practices and beliefs are consistent with recommendations derived from this empirical literature. The study described i...
Chapter
Beginning with the nonconfrontational suspect interview aimed at assessing truth and deception, through the guilt-presumptive process of interrogation aimed at eliciting an admission of guilt, to the construction of a post-admission narrative confession, the psychology of confessions requires an understanding of language. In particular, this chapte...
Article
Full-text available
Anyone familiar with the interrogation, confession, prosecution and trials and tribulations of Roman Zadorov can bear witness to a classic chain of events that too often culminates in wrongful convictions- in the United States, in Israel and everywhere else that aspires to be governed by the rule of law. We vwite this article not to argue for any p...
Book
This is the first edition of a new introductory psychology textbook.
Article
Full-text available
Confession evidence is powerfully persuasive, and yet many wrongful convictions involving false confessions have surfaced in recent years (Innocence Project, 2021; National Registry of Exonerations, 2021). Although police are trained to corroborate admissions of guilt, research shows that most false confessions contain accurate details and other co...
Article
Objective: Custody is a legal state that requires police to Mirandize suspects and, in some jurisdictions, to record their interrogation. The present study compared the custody perceptions of police, judges, social psychologists, and laypeople. Hypotheses: We predicted that (a) high-custody vignettes would elicit less perceived freedom than low-...
Article
The current article presents a series of commentaries on urgent issues and prospects in reforming interrogation practices in Canada and the United States. Researchers and practitioners, who have devoted much of their careers to the field of police and intelligence interrogations, were asked to provide their insights on an area of interrogation rese...
Article
Full-text available
This is an op-ed article advocating support for a New York state bill awaiting legislative action that would ban the police practice of presenting false evidence to suspects being interrogated..
Article
Knowledge of task‐irrelevant information influences judgments of forensic science evidence and thereby undermines their probative value (i.e., forensic confirmation bias). The current studies tested whether laypeople discount the opinion of a forensic examiner who had a priori knowledge of biasing information (i.e., a defendant's confession) that c...
Article
Despite a body of confessions research that is generally accepted in the scientific community, courts often exclude experts on the ground that such testimony would not assist the jury, which can use its common sense. To examine whether laypeople know the contents of expert testimony on confessions, we asked 151 lay participants to indicate their be...
Article
Full-text available
Wrongful conviction cases indicate that not all confessors are guilty. However, there is currently no validated method to assess the veracity of confessions. In this preregistered study, we evaluate whether a new application of the Concealed Information Test (CIT) is a potentially valid method to make a distinction between true and false admissions...
Preprint
Full-text available
Wrongful conviction cases indicate that not all confessors are guilty. However, there is currently no validated method to assess the veracity of confessions. In this preregistered study, we evaluate whether a new application of the Concealed Information Test (CIT) is a potentially valid method to make a distinction between true and false admissions...
Book
Kassin/Fein/Markus' SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, 11th Edition, brings chapter concepts to life through a unique emphasis on current events in sports, music, entertainment, technology, social media, business, world politics and more. Combining scholarship with real-world illustrations, it helps you understand the field of social psychology through engaging co...
Article
Objective: This paper examines contamination in interrogations: the process by which an interrogator divulges privileged information to a suspect. Hypotheses: In Experiment 1, we predicted that mock investigators would communicate critical crime details when they interview mock suspects about a crime-and that innocent and guilty suspects alike w...
Poster
Full-text available
Individuals who confessed to crimes that they did not commit are often perceived as guilty. As a result, public perception of false confessors is largely distorted. This experiment aimed to assess the effect of false confessions on participants' stereotypes, perceptions of guilt, and discrimination of exonerated individuals. Results indicated that...
Article
Full-text available
False confessions are a contributing factor in almost 30% of DNA exonerations in the United States. Similar problems have been documented all over the world. We present a novel framework to highlight the processes through which innocent people, once misidentified as suspects, experience cumulative disadvantages that culminate in pernicious conseque...
Article
We examined whether observers' beliefs about deception were affected by a speaker's language proficiency. Laypersons (N = 105) and police officers (N = 75) indicated which nonverbal and verbal behaviors were predictive of native‐ vs. non‐native speakers' deception. In addition, they provided their beliefs about these speakers' interrogation experie...
Article
The purpose of the study was to examine the effectiveness of the micro‐expressions training tool (METT) in identifying and using micro‐expressions to improve lie detection. Participants (n = 90) were randomly assigned to receive training in micro‐expressions recognition, a bogus control training, or no training. All participants made veracity judge...
Poster
Full-text available
A confession is the most incriminatory evidence in criminal proceedings, yet laboratory research as well as wrongful conviction cases indicate that not all confessors are actually guilty. Currently, there is no validated method to assess the veracity of confessions and differentiate true from false admissions of guilt. Here, we evaluate whether a n...
Article
In recent years, many police departments have begun to record interrogations. Some departments inform suspects as such; others do not, believing it will adversely affect processes and outcomes. We tested this hypothesis in a study of real suspects who were randomly informed or not informed that their interrogations would be recorded. No significant...
Chapter
Forensic psychology is a term used to describe a broad range of research topics and applications that address human behavior in the legal system. Personality and social psychologists are among those who have contributed to our understanding of individual differences in performance (e.g., among liars and lie detectors, crime suspects, witnesses, and...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive biases have been demonstrated in all realms of human decision making, including by experts, which is why itis important to use double-blind procedures, LSU, case man-agers and other safeguards that protect against bias. No one is immune—not even forensic pathologists.
Article
Police custody activates important legal safeguards. To determine custody, courts examine objective conditions and ask whether a “reasonable person” would feel free to leave while being questioned. In Study 1, student participants were either interviewed or interrogated about a staged theft they believed to be real. Interviews and interrogations em...
Chapter
Full-text available
Article
Eighty-seven experts on the psychology of confessions—many of whom were highly published, many with courtroom experience—were surveyed online about their opinions on 30 propositions of relevance to deception detection, police interrogations, confessions, and relevant general principles of psychology. As indicated by an agreement rate of at least 80...
Article
Recent advances in DNA technology have shined a spotlight on thousands of innocent people wrongfully convicted for crimes they did not commit—many of whom had been induced to confess. The scientific study of false confessions, which helps to explain this phenomenon, has proved highly paradoxical. On the one hand, it is rooted in reliable core princ...
Article
Full-text available
Decision-making of mental health professionals is influenced by irrelevant information (e.g., Murrie, Boccaccini, Guarnera, & Rufino, 2013). However, the extent to which mental health evaluators acknowledge the existence of bias, recognize it, and understand the need to guard against it, is unknown. To formally assess beliefs about the scope and na...
Article
Full-text available
Exposure to irrelevant contextual information prompts confirmation-biased judgments of forensic science evidence (Kassin, Dror, & Kukucka, 2013). Nevertheless, some forensic examiners appear to believe that blind testing is unnecessary. To assess forensic examiners’ beliefs about the scope and nature of cognitive bias, we surveyed 403 experienced e...
Article
Full-text available
Proponents of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ in the United States have claimed that such methods are necessary for obtaining information from uncooperative terrorism subjects. In the present article, we offer an informed, academic perspective on such claims. Psychological theory and research shows that harsh interrogation methods are ineffecti...
Article
As illustrated by numerous cases in recent years, DNA exonerations of innocent individuals have cast a spotlight on the counterintuitive problem of false confessions. Studying the underlying psychology scientists have found that (1) innocent people are often targeted for interrogation because police make erroneous but confident judgments of decepti...
Article
Full-text available
Well known in popular culture, the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York, became famous because not one of an alleged 38 bystanders called police until it was too late. Within psychology, this singular event inspired the study of bystander intervention. With the spotlight of history focused on Ms. Genovese and bystanders, other events,...
Book
Social psychology textbook - tenth edition.
Article
Full-text available
A 2-phased experiment assessed the accuracy and completeness of police reports on mock interrogations and their effects on people's perceptions. In Phase 1, 16 experienced officers investigated a mock crime scene, interrogated 2 innocent suspects-1 described by the experimenter as more suspicious than the other-and filed an incident report. All 32...
Article
Full-text available
In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a controversial ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, which required police to inform suspects, prior to custodial interrogation, of their constitutional rights to silence and to counsel. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Miranda, we present a psychological analysis of the Court’s ruling. We show how th...
Article
Full-text available
For many wrongfully convicted individuals, DNA testing presents a new and invaluable means of exoneration. In several recently documented cases, however, innocent confessors were tried and convicted despite DNA evidence that excluded them. In each of these cases, the prosecutor proposed a speculative theory to explain away the mismatched confession...
Chapter
The chapter provides an overview of the history of research in the area of false confessions. Picking up on the history of scholarly interest in confessions within psychology, four noteworthy areas are covered: (1) Miranda rights to silence and to counsel—a number of suspects lack the capacity to understand and apply the rights they are given; 560...
Chapter
Full-text available
Overview of confession evidence in the courts.
Article
Full-text available
The present study investigated how alibi witnesses react in the face of an innocent suspect's confession. Under the pretext of a problem-solving study, a participant and confederate completed a series of tasks in the same testing room. The confederate was subsequently accused of stealing money from an adjacent office during the study session. After...
Article
Full-text available
Lie detection research has shown that observers who rely on nonverbal cues or on verbal cues correctly classify on average 54% of truth tellers and liars. In addition, over the years, countless numbers of innocent people have made false confessions and, in analysing the problem, researchers have implicated both a suspect’s vulnerability and the per...
Article
Full-text available
Inspired by DNA exoneration cases and other wrongful convictions of innocent people who had confessed to crimes they did not commit, and drawing from basic principles of social perception and social influence, a vast body of research has focused on the social psychology of confessions. In particular, this article describes laboratory and field stud...
Article
In recent years, DNA exoneration cases have shed light on the problem of false confessions and the wrongful convictions that result. Drawing on basic psychological principles and methods, an extensive body of research has focused on the psychology of confessions. This article describes the processes of interrogation by which police assess whether a...
Article
Full-text available
We report two experiments concerning the ability of laypersons to assess the credibility of confessions given by incarcerated juveniles. Participants were 401 college students who were asked to make 3208 true or false judgments and confidence estimates of the juveniles' confessions. Judgment accuracy was poor across two experiments averaging 52.8%...
Article
Full-text available
Confession evidence is highly incriminating in court. We examined the interaction between chronotype and time of day on the confession decisions of 60 participants using an experimental paradigm. Pre-identified morning-and evening-type people were randomly assigned to participate in morning or evening sessions. Results supported an interactional as...
Article
Full-text available
Citing classic psychological research and a smattering of recent studies, Kassin, Dror, and Kukucka (2013) proposed the operation of a forensic confirmation bias, whereby preexisting expectations guide the evaluation of forensic evidence in a self-verifying manner. In a series of studies, we tested the hypothesis that knowing that a defendant had c...
Article
Full-text available
A field study conducted in a midsized city police department examined whether video recording alters the process of interrogation. Sixty-one investigators inspected a staged crime scene and interrogated a male mock suspect in sessions that were surreptitiously recorded. By random assignment, half the suspects had committed the mock crime; the other...
Article
Full-text available
As illustrated by the mistaken, high-profile fingerprint identification of Brandon Mayfield in the Madrid Bomber case, and consistent with a recent critique by the National Academy of Sciences (2009), it is clear that the forensic sciences are subject to contextual bias and fraught with error. In this article, we describe classic psychological rese...
Article
Full-text available
Psychology has made a tremendous contribution to law by showing the malleability of eyewitness perception and memory, and developing best practices for obtaining eyewitness identifications. We suggest that even expert scientific witnesses, which the court heavily relies on as objective and impartial, are also susceptible to bias from various psycho...
Article
Reports an error in "Why confessions trump innocence" by Saul M. Kassin (American Psychologist, Advanced Online Publication, Apr 30, 2012, np). Minor corrections should be made in the description of the Amanda Knox case. These corrections are presented in the erratum. For the most recent and "official" opinion on this case, see the Hellmann-Zanetti...
Article
Full-text available
Highlights ► Vrij and Granhag (2012) offer a paradigm shift in the study of deception detection. ► They replace the passive observer with an active interviewer who seeks to cognitively tax and outsmart the deceiver. ► Rather than look for emotional leakage, they focus on lying as a behavior that requires cognitive effort. ► Despite this shift in re...
Article
Full-text available
[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 67(6) of American Psychologist (see record 2012-24333-001). Minor corrections should be made in the description of the Amanda Knox case. These corrections are presented in the erratum. For the most recent and "official" opinion on this case, see the Hellmann-Zanetti Report on the A...
Article
Full-text available
In Arizona v. Fulminante (1991), the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for appellate judges to conduct a harmless error analysis of erroneously admitted, coerced confessions. In this study, 132 judges from three states read a murder case summary, evaluated the defendant's guilt, assessed the voluntariness of his confession, and responded to implic...
Article
Full-text available
Forensic psychology is a term used to describe a broad range of research topics and applications that address human behavior in the legal system. Personality and social psychologists are among those who have contributed to our understanding of individual differences in performance (e.g., among liars and lie detectors, crime suspects, witnesses, and...
Chapter
Full-text available
The psychology of false confessions.
Article
Full-text available
Basic psychology research suggests the possibility that confessions-a potent form of incrimination-may taint other evidence, thereby creating an appearance of corroboration. To determine if this laboratory-based phenomenon is supported in the high-stakes world of actual cases, we conducted an archival analysis of DNA exoneration cases from the Inno...
Article
Full-text available
In the criminal justice system, confessions are so powerful that once a suspect confesses, additional investigation often stops and the suspect is prosecuted and convicted. Although confessions from perpetrators help to solve crimes in an efficient manner, the false confessions of innocents are a known contributing factor in approximately 25% of al...
Article
Full-text available
Using a less deceptive variant of the false evidence ploy, interrogators often use the bluff tactic, whereby they pretend to have evidence to be tested without further claiming that it necessarily implicates the suspect. Three experiments were conducted to assess the impact of the bluff on confession rates. Using the Kassin and Kiechel (Psychol Sci...
Article
Full-text available
Crime suspects in the USA are typically questioned in a two-step process aimed, first, at behavioural lie detection during a pre-interrogation interview, followed by the elicitation of a confession during the interrogation itself (in Great Britain, the practice of investigative interviewing does not make this sharp distinction). Research conducted...
Article
Full-text available
Reviewing the literature on police-induced confessions, we identified suspect characteristics and interrogation tactics that influence confessions and their effects on juries. We concluded with a call for the mandatory electronic recording of interrogations and a consideration of other possible reforms. The preceding commentaries make important sub...
Chapter
Contradicting the commonsense belief that “I'd never confess to a crime I did not commit”, false confessions are a contributing factor in roughly one quarter of all post-conviction DNA exonerations. Voluntary, compliant, and internalized false confessions are distinguished and a sequence of three processes is articulated as responsible for these co...
Article
Full-text available
Recent DNA exonerations have shed light on the problem that people sometimes confess to crimes they did not commit. Drawing on police practices, laws concerning the admissibility of confession evidence, core principles of psychology, and forensic studies involving multiple methodologies, this White Paper summarizes what is known about police-induce...
Article
Full-text available
A confession is potent evidence, persuasive to judges and juries. Is it possible that a confession can also affect other evidence? The present study tested the hypothesis that a confession will alter eyewitnesses' identification decisions. Two days after witnessing a staged theft and making an identification decision from a lineup that did not incl...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the potency of confession evidence in criminal law, recent DNA exonerations indicate that false confessions are a contributing factor in numerous wrongful convictions. After distinguishing between voluntary, compliant, and internalized false confessions, this article reviews research implicating a sequence of three processes responsible for...
Article
Full-text available
Confession evidence is powerful but flawed, often in nonintuitive ways. Contradicting widely held beliefs, research reviewed in this article suggests the following: Despite special training in how to conduct interviews, police cannot distinguish better than the layperson whether suspects are lying or telling the truth. Suspects in custody routinely...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the commonsense belief that people do not confess to crimes they did not commit, 20 to 25% of all DNA exonerations involve innocent prisoners who confessed. After distinguishing between voluntary, compliant, and internalized false confessions, this article suggests that a sequence of three processes is responsible for false confessions and...
Article
Full-text available
By questionnaire, 631 police investigators reported on their interrogation beliefs and practices-the first such survey ever conducted. Overall, participants estimated that they were 77% accurate at truth and lie detection, that 81% of suspects waive Miranda rights, that the mean length of interrogation is 1.6 hours, and that they elicit self-incrim...
Article
Full-text available
The present research assessed whether judicial instruction can curb jurors' inappropriate use of coerced-confession evidence. In Experiment 1, subjects read an auto theft trial in which the defendant had confessed on his own initiative (no constraint), after an offer of leniency (positive constraint), or after a threat of punishment (negative const...
Article
A mock jury study was conducted to evaluate the effects of videotaped crime scenes on juries. Forty-eight subjects took the Juror Bias Scale and read a murder trial transcript. In addition, subjects viewed a videotape of an actual murder victim presented as the victim described in the transcript (trial-relevant video) or as one taken from another c...
Article
Full-text available
Two factors that were thought to promote or inhibit schema-based or stereotypic responding in impression formation were examined in two experiments. Subjects were asked to provide evaluations of artwork supposedly painted by either mentally retarded or nonretarded children. Based on previous research, it was assumed that subjects would expect relat...
Article
Full-text available
The primary goal of the current study was to develop a novel experimental paradigm with which to study the influence of psychologically based interrogation techniques on the likelihood of true and false confessions. The paradigm involves guilty and innocent participants being accused of intentionally breaking an experimental rule, or "cheating." In...