Cognitive Daily

The psychology of criminals

Psychology Today has a trio of articles relating to crime and justice. The first article is possibly the most interesting. It offers some compelling data on the frequency of false confessions:

Although it is difficult, if not impossible, to estimate the number of false confessions nationwide, a review of one decade’s worth of murder cases in a single Illinois county found 247 instances in which the defendants’ self-incriminating statements were thrown out by the court or found by a jury to be insufficiently convincing for conviction.

The article suggests that low-IQ or drug-addicted suspects are most likely to falsely confess, and offers a number of potential reasons someone might falsely confess to a crime. We’ve reported on false confessions on CogDaily, citing research that demonstrates that even college students are likely to falsely confess, and even to believe their own confession. The Psychology Today article shows how false confessions can and do occur in the real world. It’s well worth reading.

In other news:


  1. #1 Stephen
    December 22, 2006

    I met a guy who robbed a bank. Uhm, before he robbed the bank. Uhm, i guess i should say attempted to rob a bank. He had a partner.

    On the surface, the plan sucked. There was no real getaway plan. That is, the bank was in downtown Philadelphia, where driving is difficult. It was rush hour at that. This particular bank was nowhere near public transit. They didn’t have bicycles. They weren’t in good running condition. They didn’t have a pre-written note, and scribbled one as they walked in. They stood in line to see a teller. When they handed the teller the note, the teller couldn’t read it, and they had to explain what it said out loud – attracting attention of other tellers. A couple minutes into this exchange, a foot policeman walked in. This is even before the silent alarm was tripped. So, they were caught. At least they didn’t have any real weapons.

    Now, as i said, i’d met this man before. He’d done some dumb things, like get hooked on alcohol, and likely drugs. And, in fact, about this time, both he and his partner in crime had just been evicted from their respective apartments. Probably for non-payment. But, this guy did not seem totally stupid. He could perform logic, and such, and was less delusional than most of my historic managers.

    And, it was not that he didn’t understand the consequences. He’d been in jail before. His partner too. So, it would be easy to classify them as repeat offenders.

    But it was winter in Philadelphia. And these guys had been in homeless shelters before too. Jail was just better. Warmer. Better food. Health care. Less access to drugs and alcohol.


    Merry Christmas.

  2. #2 Alex G Vandi
    January 19, 2009

    AS a student who is trying to read, learn from life time mistakes in the form of correcting an errors from the past,i’m working hard to understand what it means to be call a CRIMINAL and WHAT comes into the mind of those of whaich their own way(s) has led them to be call the way society call them. As a CRIMINAL JUSTICE MAJOR students, i became to love this course so much due to the fact of what my own choice made me to be for just a minimum time and will never repeat itself again. We are punished for our behavior but for not who we are, and in every society for where individual finds themselfs, you don’t go with in my country but go with here in ….. followed by where you live for instance U.S, this is what the law says. For you to be able to function properly, you have to recornize the DO’s and the DONT and live, eat and sleep by it.

    I have a misunderstanding with some one whom i was trying to help and put my entire trust in that individual whom ended up to betray me and led my anger foolishly which took me to a different rout of my life journey, but if you are determined as i’m, there is nothing like too late to change, just keep to your world and recornize the present of your creator in your life, you will be the happiest man with PEACE on earth tham any one you can thing of. But here is my majore reason of contributing to this web as i was trying to solve my assignment ( criminal behavior) and luckely hit this part.

    Can we ever live in a free world without crime? Does prison reformed criminals? Are we trying to prevent crime from happening or solving them after they have happened? the reason been that is because today as i write, i was in the break room with four of my other co-worker, while i was scanning through my text, one of my ears was also opend to their conversation, she said this and i coat ” SHE TOLD A GIRL TO KEEP OFF AWAY FROM HER SON IF NOT SHE WILL TAKE HER TO REST VERY VERY SHORTLY, AND THAT SHE IS NOT TREATHNING BUT A TESTIMONY FOR HER TO KEEP IN MIND, AND IF SHE CALL THE POLICE AND THEY TAKE HER TO JAIL, LET HER REMEMBER THAT WHEN SHE RETURNS, SHE WILL HUNT HER. Looking at the LAW, and those questions tell me what do you thing…., watch out for more

    Have a Nice Day
    May God guide eand bless you with all what you hope for that are positive and may HE guide our leaders to lead us well AMEN

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