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Latest study pokes hole in reliability of police interrogations

Police interrogations have been utilized for decades. One-one-one, intimidating interviews that discourage bathroom breaks or sleep in the hopes of getting suspects to reveal information or confess to a crime.

However, a recent study has seemingly substantiated already widespread skeptical evidence about the unreliability of such techniques.

Researchers from the study asked 88 undergraduate students to complete various computer tasks broken up into two sessions over a 2 day period. The night of the second day after the second session, half of the participants were dismissed to go to sleep. The other half were kept awake with television shows, video games and food throughout the night.

The next morning, both groups reconvened back together and all were asked to sign a statement where they basically admitted to performing a prohibited activity during both sessions. Half of the sleep deprived participants signed the statement.

Although the examination was not exactly on the same scale as a real police interrogation, the results do point out a common issue between the two: sleep deprivation and false confessions.

Hopefully this and other studies will continue to shed light on the ways police garner so-called reliable evidence when interviewing suspects-and getting indictments.

More information about the study can be found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a highly regarded scientific journal known for publishing cutting-edge research from the biological, physical and social sciences.

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