Police Interrogation: From Art to Science

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1993, Vol 38(12), 1320–1321. Reviews the book, The Psychology of Interrogations, Confessions and Testimony by Gisli H. Gudjonsson (see record 1992-98194-000). This book brings together a wealth of information about police interrogations of suspects. More specifically, the book focuses on the problem of false confessions. The strength of this book lies in its unique ability to blend a variety of approaches: the legal system's quest for fairness, the police interrogators' concern to “get their man,” the suspects' concern to terminate an unpleasant encounter with an authority figure, and the practitioner-scientist's interest to understand why suspects behave the way they do and to minimize errors that are induced by the legal system. The major weakness of the book is that, in its attempt to be complete, it often seems to lose focus. On balance, though, the book certainly accomplishes its goal of making available to clinical psychologists and police interrogators the scientific literature on interrogation and confession. In that regard, it should provide a much-needed source to elevate the art of interrogation into a science. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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