Deception rights waiver (Gudjonsson,1997). Development of Gudjonsson’s Suggestibility

Deception is a common part of life. Every person has lied andbeen lied to. One major problem facing law enforcement and psychologists isthat individuals not only lie but do so unintentionally. False confessions maybe given by a suspect due to his/her high rating of interrogativesuggestibility.

Interrogative Suggestibility has beendefined as an influence of one person to another person, often within a socialinteraction where people come to accept an idea or message communicated duringformal questioning. Interrogative suggestibility can also be a seriouspsychological vulnerability during police interrogation (Gudjonsson 1989;Gudjonsson, 2003). In result of this definition, five interrelated componentsof interrogative suggestibility have been identified: (a) Suggestibilityusually occurs within a closed social interaction; (b) it includes aquestioning process; (c) there is a suggestive stimulus which generally takesthe form of a “leading question”; (d) an acceptance of suggestivestimulus is indicated; and (e) It involves a behavioural response by theindividual that lets the interviewer know that the suggestive stimuli have beenaccepted.suggestibility is measured using theGudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (GSS) and is widely used within appliedforensic science and academic settings. The purpose of the scale is to measureeffectively the vulnerability of people to be influenced suggestively and/or togive an inaccurate statement when being interviewed (Gudjonsson, 1997).

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The useof the GSS has been effective in providing data to the court regarding anindividual’s predisposition to provide false information during interrogation.This is very important when the trier of law is assessing one’s information asbeing authentic and true. This measure also determines whether a defendant orwitness willingly accepted the Mirandarights waiver (Gudjonsson,1997). Development of Gudjonsson’s SuggestibilityScale- DiscussionThe first form of the GSS scale wasdeveloped in 1984. There is a fixed process to the GSS which is as follows:1)      A fictionalstory is read to defendant/witness.

2)      Theindividual is then asked to recollect the key elements of the story (withoutbeing prompted).3)      Theparticipant is then asked 20 questions (yes/no only) relating to the story. 4)      15 of thefollow-up questions are misleading questions and the other five questions arenon-leading questions which are used to assess memory ability.Roughly, 50 minutes after the recalleach individual is then notified that they have made several errors regardlessof whether mistakes were in fact made and are permitted to go over thequestions once more and try to be more accurate, this is referred to as ‘shiftscore.

(Drake, 2010).Psychologists have taken I uponthemselves to assess whether Victims and witnesses are capable of givingevidence. Currently, in England, witness mental capacity can be regarded in thecontext of two permissible frameworks: Part 1, the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Section 53of the Youth Justice and CriminalEvidence Act 1999. Both acts are relevant when it comes to giving valid andreliable evidence during interviews.

Part 1 of the mental act 2005 primarilyfocuses on the lack of witness/victim capacity and that each individual must beassumed to have the mental capacity and make decisions unless proven otherwise.The latter of the two applies to those of any age, including very youngchildren. Section 53 (Subsection 3) of theYouth Justice and Criminal Evidence act draws upon competence and beingable to give evidence in court proceedings. Furthermore, if a person is unableto understand and answer questions put before them by the court, then they maybe deemed as lacking capacity and unfit to give evidence in legal proceedings.When interviewing defendants policeofficers will need to be made aware of each suspect psychological vulnerabilitywhich may in some cases render the suspect’s information unreliable ormisleading (Gudjonsson, 2003).

Four main categories for the assessment ofpsychological vulnerabilities have been identified as; (a) Mental illness (b)abnormal mental state (c) cognitive functioning and (d) personality traits.These have been categorized in the table below. Table1    Psychological Categories        Psychological Vulnerability             Mental illness           Learning disability         Personality disorder ·         Prone to feeling guilty ·         Inaccurate perceptions ·         Reality monitoring-being able to distinguish between memories for events that have happened and events that have been imagined. ·         A reduced Intellectual capacity ·         Poor ability to recall memories ·         Poor understanding of their rights as a suspect ·         Suggestibility and acceptance without protest, and the act of giving tacit assent. ·         Failure to understand the implications of their given answers ·         Prepared to compulsively lie ·         Lack of self-esteem ·         A tendency to fabricate memories ·         Lack of sympathy for the consequences of falsifying statements.          The most delicate and difficult taskfor psychologists is to identify the vulnerabilities relevant to anindividual’s case.

Gudjonsson and MacKeith (1997) have raised issues about how vulnerabilitiesmay be misinterpreted when viewed separately to other important factors (e.g.,using a high score on a suggestibility test to challenge the consistency of reportsmade in interviews when in fact the confessions were made without suggestibilityin police interviews). In England, psychologists may instruct police officersabout susceptibilities before the police interview in order to guarantee fairness(Gudjonsson, 2007).

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