Lindsay Malloy: Why teens confess to crimes they didn't commit
Lindsay Malloy studies how kids function in a legal system that was designed for adults. Full bio
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for murders that they didn't commit;
to committing when they were teenagers.
that helps us understand
that was designed for adults.
with an IQ around 70,
of intellectual disability.
of his four-hour interrogation.
that's going to help you here.
no matter what happens here.
because she thinks you know more, too.
now tell us exactly. Don't lie.
that honesty would "set him free,"
convinced of his guilt at that point.
end up setting him free.
a confession from Brendan
evidence of the crime
and sentence him to life in prison
against Brendan at all.
for nearly a decade,
just a few months ago.
it made its way into a Netflix series,
you should definitely watch it.
intense public outrage.
how Brendan was questioned,
had to have been illegal.
interrogation training manuals,
is actually not all that unique,
I've seen worse.
outcry about injustice
one million or so of his peers
in the United States
the risk for false confession.
to struggle with that term,
confessions actually occur.
and even give gruesome details
like rape or murder
confessions or admissions were present
of wrongful convictions
by DNA evidence.
because we have the DNA.
confessed to it anyway.
from countless research studies,
of why people falsely confess,
vulnerable to providing false confessions.
had falsely confessed,
at wrongful convictions and exonerations,
that are resolved by guilty pleas,
in our legal system,
of legal cases in the US
to more minor types of crimes
or appealed following a conviction.
we actually do know about
of false confession among teenagers.
one false confession to police.
juveniles just like adults.
saying that this was all your idea."
in the UK, for example,
like Brendan Dassey.
teens that we interviewed
high-pressure police interrogations
having been threatened by the police,
of being raped or killed in jail
like denials are pointless
the role of "good cop/bad cop," right?
and susceptible to social influence,
accusations and suggestions
figures in interrogations.
of the teens in our study said
to "befriend" them
during the interrogation.
as "minimization strategies,"
sympathy and understanding to the suspect,
will result in more lenient treatment.
is the thing that's going to help you, OK?
no matter what you did, OK?
we can work through that."
just saw with Brendan
and risk differently than adults do.
to the suspect, right?
interrogation is over.
the best option to most teens,
risk of conviction and punishment
that thoughtful, long-term planning
teenagers that we know.
the legal system seems to get
should be treated differently than adults.
it's like the kid gloves come off.
they're adults in interrogations
and neuroscientific studies
do not think like adults,
from adult brains --
of the brain during adolescence,
and the limbic system,
for things like self-control,
in a stressful circumstance,
in a high-stakes interrogation.
and adolescents --
protections in place for juveniles.
Dassey's conviction earlier this year,
that Dassey had no parent
to his mom after he confessed,
far too late for him.
is, like, different,
would have been different for Brendan
in the interrogation room with him.
of incarcerated teens,
encounters with police,
in the room with them
or attorney to be present.
in lower-stake situations, too.
experiment in our lab here at FIU --
for all minors, of course,
of cheating on a study task --
as cheating in a class.
had witnessed a peer cheat,
of our research team
for participating in the study
because of his academic probation status.
consequences would have panned out,
all of the participants afterward.
59 percent of them --
for the cheating.
when we accused them of cheating,
in the next room during the study.
significantly more teens than adults,
saying that they cheated.
saying that they had,
a parent in the situation.
waive their Miranda rights
without lawyers or parents present.
of juveniles must be conducted
youth have to ask for --
shows that they won't --
safeguard for juveniles here in the US
police questioning of youth.
the knowledge and legal sophistication
of the Central Park Five:
to a brutal gang rape in 1989,
to clear their names.
really should be an attorney
pointed out that there's no federal law
even inform a juvenile's parent
to have a parent in the room.
of this together for a second:
that juveniles cannot be trusted
to waive their Miranda rights,
most teens don't understand or appreciate.
on the state that you live in,
these rights without your knowledge
me -- wants to prevent police
appropriate training for talking to youth.
another Brendan Dassey,
information that we need
ABOUT THE SPEAKERLindsay Malloy - Developmental psychology professor, researcher
Lindsay Malloy studies how kids function in a legal system that was designed for adults.
Why you should listen
Dr. Lindsay Malloy has devoted her career to improving justice for vulnerable youth, including working to develop more appropriate interrogation methods and investigative interviewing techniques for children and teens.
Malloy received her PhD in psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine before conducting postdoctoral work at the University of Cambridge in England. After earning tenure at Florida International University in Miami, FL, she moved to Canada where she is now an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, ON. Malloy's research has been funded by the US National Science Foundation, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the US Department of Health and Human Services. She has received early career awards from the American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of the American Psychological Association), the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice (Division 37 of the American Psychological Association) and the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group, for her contributions to science, policy and practice.
Lindsay Malloy | Speaker | TED.com