Date of Award

Fall 9-9-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Psychology

Language

English

First Advisor

Saul Kassin

Second Reader

Demis Glasford

Third Advisor

Shuki Cohen

Abstract

Historically, assessing deception has been rooted in the belief that a guilty suspect displays signs of anxiety. Based on a suspect’s physical demeanor and other behavioral cues presented during an interrogative session, law enforcement personnel (LEP) will utilize a set of techniques to elicit information about a crime. One such technique is the administration of feedback, which is the verbal assessment of a suspect’s guilt. The issue that stems from administering feedback lies not only in how it is given but also how it is received and interpreted by others. In a two-part study, the possibility of a “Feedback Effect” was examined. It is the idea that observers will infer deception and overall guilt of a suspect by taking their cues either directly from an interrogator’s feedback (direct pathway) or indirectly from a suspect’s feedback-elicited anxiety (indirect pathway). Participant observers were asked to rate the veracity and ultimate guilt of a suspect. Some of the observers were exposed to feedback (direct pathway) and others were not (indirect pathway). Results from the current study supported the direct pathway of the Feedback Effect, but not the indirect pathway: Observers who were exposed to feedback were more likely to see the suspect as deceptive; those not exposed to the feedback did not. Implications for jury decision-making are discussed.

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