Sensitizing the general public: experiential processing alters perceptions of confession evidence and minimization
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False confessions are a leading cause of wrongful convictions in Canada, suggesting a lack of protection against false confessions. Moreover, minimization tactics can increase the chance of false confessions. Current educational efforts (i.e., cautionary instructions and expert testimony) do not sufficiently sensitize jurors to false confessions, increasing the chance that false confessions will result in a wrongful conviction. We hypothesized that experiential processing (via personal learning) would alter perceptions of confessions. In Study 1, participants read vignettes whereby minimization led to a confession, and provided perceptions of the confession. Veracity of the confession was manipulated. Learning that a seemingly appropriate interrogation lead to a false confession altered perceptions of that confession evidence. This change in perception carried over to a second, unrelated case. In Study 2, we replicated these findings using video clips of actual Canadian interrogations, strengthening ecological validity of the study. Implications for jury decision making are discussed.