Innocent but proven guilty: eliciting internalized false confessions using doctored-video evidence

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More powerful computers and affordable digital-video equipment means that desktop-video editing is now accessible and popular. In two experiments, we investigated whether seeing fake-video evidence, or simply being told that video evidence exists, could lead people to believe they committed an act they never did. Subjects completed a computerized gambling task, and when they returned later the same day, we falsely accused them of cheating on the task. All of the subjects were told that incriminating video evidence existed, and half were also exposed to a fake video. See-video subjects were more likely to confess without resistance, and to internalize the act than told-video subjects, and see-video subjects tended to confabulate details more often than told-video subjects. We offer a metacognitive-based account of our results.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-637
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date28 Jul 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


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