The Effect of Guilt Presumptions on the Perception of Suspect Interrogations
The current study explores the effects of confirmation bias on the perception of suspect interrogations. Participants (N = 141) were assigned to read one of two versions of a suspected homicide case, before reading an interrogation transcript. Participants in the suspect guilty condition (n = 75) were at the outset led to believe in the suspect’s guilt, while participants in the alternative suspect condition (n = 66) were introduced to the possibility of an alternative perpetrator. Participants presuming guilt perceived the interrogation as better-conducting and overlooking confrontational interrogation methods, and became less convinced of the suspect’s guilt after having read the interrogation. The results indicate that receiving suspect statements obtained by information-gathering techniques can moderate the effects of confirmation bias.