Tomorrow: False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies

Psychological Sciences Colloquium

Title: False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies
Speaker: Saul Kassin, Department of Psychology, John Jay College and Department of Psychology, Williams College
Time: 3:30pm, Friday, April 13, 2018
Location: BOUS 160, Storrs, University of Connecticut


Citing real cases, past and present, as well as empirical research, this presentation will address the questions of why innocent people confess to crimes they did not commit, why judges and juries unflinchingly believe these false confessions, and how the system can be reformed to prevent the wrongful convictions that result.


Saul Kassin is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Massachusetts Professor Emeritus at Williams College. In the 1980’s, he pioneered the scientific study of false confessions, distinguishing three types of false confessions and creating the first research paradigms to induce false confessions in the laboratory. He has since examined why innocent people are targeted, the interrogation tactics that lead them to confess, the phenomenology of innocence, and the impact these confessions have on judges, juries, forensic examiners, and others. Kassin is an author of numerous books and articles and is senior author of the official White Paper on false confessions. His work is cited all over the world—including by the U.S. Supreme Court. He has received a number of awards—including a 2017 APA Award for Distinguished Contribution to Research on Public Policy. Kassin has consulted on a number of high profile cases, has served as an analyst on all major news networks, and appears in Ken Burns’ 2012 film, “The Central Park Five.”