Behind the confession: Relating false confession, interrogative compliance, personality traits, and psychopathy
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AbstractThe present study further supports the established notion that personality traits contribute to the phenomenon of false confessions and compliance in an interrogative setting. Furthermore, the study provides an investigation into the more recent interest in the potential effect of psychopathic traits in this context. A sample of university students (N = 607) completed questionnaires measuring psychopathic traits, interrogative compliance, and the big five personality factors. Of these, only 4.9% (n=30) claimed to have falsely confessed to an academic or criminal offense, with no participant taking the blame for both types of offense. Across measures the big five personality traits were the strongest predictors of compliance. The five personality traits accounted for 17.9 % of the total variance in compliance, with neuroticism being the strongest predictor, followed by openness and agreeableness. Psychopathy accounted for 3.3% of variance, with the lifestyle facet being the only significant predictor. After controlling for the big five personality factors, psychopathy only accounted for a small percentage of interrogative compliance, indicating that interrogators should take into account a person’s personality traits during the interrogation.
CitationLarmour, S. R. et al (2015) 'Behind the Confession: Relating False Confession, Interrogative Compliance, Personality Traits, and Psychopathy', Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 30 (2):94
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology