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- Dispositional Characteristics
Characteristics such as drug or alcohol abuse, mental illness and suggestibility, common in juveniles who are more apt to want to please adults, make suspects more vulnerable to the pressures of an interrogation and more likely to confess to a crime he/she did not commit.
- Psychological Vulnerabilities
All humans are susceptible to different psychological vulnerabilities and short-sightedness is one that is very common. Outweighing the short-term benefits over the long-term punishment happens in normal, everyday life. When an interrogation becomes unpleasant, an innocent person could confess in order to escape his/her current situation, concluding he/she can deal with the punishment later. Paired with what is referred to as the Phenomenon of Innocence by Madon, an innocent person might confess in order to get out of the interrogation, while thinking the likelihood of a punishment ever occurring is slim because their innocence will later be proven. Lastly, self-regulatory resources, which are responsible for regulating a person’s behavior, can be diminished by long, stressful situations. A person becomes less capable to override impulses when these resources have been expended, leading to their inability to continue to assert their innocence.
- Interrogators Use Tactics that Exploit a Psychological Vulnerabilities
Source: Stephanie Madon, psychology professor at Iowa State University