Table of Contents
Journal of Criminology
Volume 2013, Article ID 164546, 10 pages
Research Article

The Impact of Presentation Modality on Perceptions of Truthful and Deceptive Confessions

1National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
2Australian Graduate School of Policing and School of Psychology, Charles Sturt University, Sydney, NSW 1655, Australia
3Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia

Received 24 January 2013; Revised 26 March 2013; Accepted 26 March 2013

Academic Editor: Augustine Joseph Kposowa

Copyright © 2013 Deborah Bradford et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study examined the impact of presentation modality and the effectiveness of direct and indirect measures of deception to distinguish truthful from deceptive confessions. Confession statements were presented in one of three formats: audiovisual, audio-only, or written text. Forty-six observers classified each statement as true or false and provided ratings of confidence, information sufficiency, perceived cognitive load, and suspiciousness. Compared to audio and written confessions, exposure to audiovisual recordings yielded significantly lower accuracy rates for direct veracity judgements, with below chance level performance. There was no evidence that indirect measures assisted observers in discriminating truthful from deceptive confessions. Overall, observers showed a strong bias to believe confessions with poor detection rates for false statements. Reliance on video recordings to assess the veracity of confession evidence is unlikely to reduce wrongful convictions arising from false confessions.