NPR has a nice report on the motivations behind false confessions. Give it a listen–it’s just over two minutes long, and reporter Andy Bowers gives an excellent explanation of why people such as JonBenet Ramsey “killer” John Mark Karr might be motivated to voluntarily confess to crimes they didn’t commit.
Bowers divides false confessions into two types: voluntary and coerced. His report primarily discusses voluntary confessions, which are often related to a mental impairment or obsession on the part of the confessor. If you’d like to know more about coerced confessions, which Bowers says is the more common variety, check out our article on the subject.