What is it about?

We have documented, for the first time, the content of jurors' deliberation statements about a coerced and false confession. Most jurors convicted the defendant and their internal attributions (dismissal of the coercion) predicted convictions.

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Why is it important?

On the one hand, some jurors identified coercive elements of a false confession and rendered external attributions for a defendant’s false confession (attributing the confession to the coercive interrogation) during deliberation. On the other hand, many jurors made internal attributions, attributing a defendant’s false confession to his guilt—attributions that predicted juror and jury inclinations to convict an innocent defendant. This research highlights internal attributions as a potential underlying psychological determinant of wrongful convictions in cases involving coerced confessions. Future researchers and legal practitioners can leverage these findings to assist jurors in their evaluation of confession evidence in ways that facilitate justice.


This research involved enormous collaborative effort with an incredible team of co-authors. Too often, jury decision-making scholars omit jury deliberation (which is time and labor-intensive to study). Yet, effects do not always replicate post-jury deliberation. We were excited to be the first to study jury deliberations about a defendant's coerced and false confession. The work was hard, but it was worth it!

Margaret Stevenson
Kenyon College

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: An attribution theory–based content analysis of mock jurors’ deliberations regarding coerced confessions., Law and Human Behavior, April 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000529.
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