Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Unmaking a murderer: behaviour sequence analysis of false confessions

Keatley, D.A., Marono, A. and Clarke, D.D. (2018) Unmaking a murderer: behaviour sequence analysis of false confessions. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 25 (3). pp. 425-436.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


The causes of false confessions are an important issue in legal studies and forensics. Recent advances in DNA testing have increased the number of proven false confessions; however, there are probably many cases without scientific evidence to refute the guilty verdict. The current research provides a novel approach to understand the structure and process of police interrogation techniques, in the United States behaviour sequence analysis. This method allows complex interactions in interrogations to be broken down and the progression of techniques analysed clearly. A case study is provided of an individual who confessed to a series of very serious crimes. The results show that several psychological techniques, such as leading statements, pressure, empathy, and inducements, are used, in increasing frequency, which resulted in the suspect's confession. This research provides support for behaviour sequence analysis as a new method to understand the structure of police interrogations and how psychological techniques may be used to gain false confessions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: © 2018 The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Item Control Page Item Control Page