Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales

Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales

Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales

Review of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales
Excerpt from Mental Measurements Yearbook review of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales.

DESCRIPTION. The Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales (GSS) is presented as a memory test. A short narrative paragraph containing 40 facts is read to the person being tested with that person being asked to try to remember everything he or she can about the story. He or she is then asked to state everything that can be remembered about the story. Unless the person being tested has very poor recall initially, after a 50-minute delay, he or she is again asked to recall what they can about the story.

After the recall portion(s) of the test, the test taker is asked 20 standardized questions about the story, 15 of which have been specifically designed as subtly leading (i.e., they lead the subject toward an inaccurate reporting of what they believe they remember about the story). The extent to which a test taker yields to the 15 leading questions comprises the Yield 1 score of the GSS. All participants are clearly and firmly told, “You have made a number of errors. It is therefore necessary to go through the questions once more, and this time try to be more accurate” (manual, p. 11). The examiner is then able to assess how much the person “yields” to the 15 questions after being pressured, the scoring of which leads to the Yield 2 score. The extent to which a test taker shifts from the original response, right or wrong, to a different response after pressure, comprises the Shift score. The Yield 1 (0 to 15) and Shift (0 to 20) are combined for a Total Suggestibility score. These scores can be compared to various normative groups on a number of dimensions including age, legal status, and intellectual ability.

The GSS comprises two parallel forms, the GSS 1 and the GSS 2. They are identical in structure except for the narrative paragraph and the questions asked about the paragraph.

DEVELOPMENT. Gisli Gudjonsson developed the GSS in order to measure, subtly yet objectively, the construct of interrogative suggestibility. Interrogative suggestibility is the extent to which an individual comes to accept messages or information communicated during formal questioning, essentially coming to believe the information presented as true. As measured by the Yield and Shift scores, information is obtained about the degree to which an individual yields to leading or misleading questions and gives in to negative feedback or pressure.

In addition to use for research, the GSS was developed for clinical use, such as assessing the psychological vulnerability of a defendant or witness to yielding to leading questions and to shifting from one response, right or wrong, to a different response, under pressure. This use has applications in providing data to the court regarding an individual’s susceptibility to providing false information during police questioning, which is highly relevant when the trier of fact is assessing the validity of a confession or witness statements. The measure also has applications when a court is determining the voluntariness of a confession or Miranda rights waiver.

TECHNICAL. The scoring of the Yield and Shift scales is highly nondiscretionary and generally clear cut. Interscorer reliability for the suggestibility scales (Yield 1, Yield 2, Shift, Total GSS Score) ranges from .949 to .992 for the GSS 1 and .989 to .996 for the GSS 2 (Richardson & Smith, 1993).

In light of the nature of the GSS, where individuals are likely to remember some of the narrative paragraph over time, test-retest reliability scores have not been obtained for the individual scales. Instead, temporal consistency scores have been obtained, comparing the GSS 1 with the GSS 2 for a variety of populations over different time frames. All the correlations for suggestibility were highly significant. Using a forensic population retested the same day, the correlation was .92 for the Total GSS score and ranged from .80 to .90 on the individual scales (Yield 1, Yield 2, and Shift). Another forensic group retested from one day to 18 months later had a correlation for Total GSS score of .83 and .74 to .78 on the individual scales.

Grisso (1986) reviewed the early validation studies on the GSS 1 and concluded “Construct validation research with the GSS has placed the forensic examiner in a good position to use the GSS scores when considering questions of an examinee’s decreased resistance to suggestion or subtle pressure in interrogations by law enforcement officials” (p. 147). Since that initial review, additional research has been done. Suggestibility has been shown to correlate with a number of cognitive variables. Gudjonsson (2003, p. 360-412) summarized the relevant research. There is a negative relationship of suggestibility scores to intelligence and memory. Poor assertiveness, evaluative anxiety, state anxiety, and avoidance coping strategies correlated with suggestibility. Research has also shown that although adolescents do not “yield” to leading questions any more than adults, they are more likely to have higher Shift scores (i.e., change a response when provided with pressure or negative feedback). Sleep deprivation is also correlated with suggestibility. Mental illness per se does not correlate with suggestibility. Significantly, research has shown that false confessors have higher GSS scores than forensic patients and those who have maintained their innocence.

COMMENTARY. The GSS was developed using normative data from Great Britain and Iceland. Yet this test is quite appropriate for use with populations from the United States. The reader should be reminded that London, like many big cities in the United States, is a multicultural city. There is perhaps no reason to believe that those detainees residing in London would score as a group much differently than comparable populations in any multiculturally diverse American cities although American norms would be quite useful. Moreover, there were few differences in performance between those residing in Iceland and those in Great Britain. Relatively little research has been performed on cross-cultural factors and the GSS. Although Gudjonsson, Rutter, and Clare (1995) found that Afro-Caribbean police detainees scored significantly higher on all GSS 2 scores compared to their Caucasian counterparts, such factors as intelligence, memory, and anxiety produce more of an effect in suggestibility scores than ethnicity. Even without data normed on an American population, the GSS provides excellent behavioral data relating to how an individual responds when given leading questions and pressured with negative feedback. Certainly norms from American subjects would enhance the perceived applicability of this test in the United States.

The GSS can be used in a variety of forensic, clinical contexts. Although it might be argued that the test is only relevant in situations in which a defendant has potentially produced a coerced-internalized false confession (has faulty memory for events surrounding an offense but is led to believe by police through leading questions and/or pressure that in fact he or she committed the crime), the GSS has far more applicability when episodic or autobiographical memory is an issue during police questioning. The GSS measures behavioral responses to leading questions and negative feedback, the same processes that occur in many interrogations. Although the GSS does not provide a direct measure of compliance (which does not require personal acceptance of the information provided or request made), research has shown a correlation between GSS scores and that construct as measured by the Gudjonsson Compliance Scale (GCS; Gudjonsson, 2003). The correlations for Yield 1, Shift, and Total GSS score were .40, .53, and .54, respectively.

When testing is performed in a forensic context, the clinician must address issues of response distortion or malingering. The GSS is particularly resistant to exaggeration or feigning of interrogative suggestibility. First, test takers believe they are being given a memory test. Also, a study by Baxter and Bain (2002) demonstrated that even when individuals were informed that the test measures suggestibility and were told to feign suggestibility on the test, only the Yield 1 score was susceptible to faking.

SUMMARY. Gudjonsson has successfully produced objective tests (GSS 1 and GSS 2) to help assess interrogative suggestibility and related constructs in the context of police questioning of suspects and witnesses. The GSS enables comparison of a person’s suggestibility to normative groups and provides behavioral samples relevant to those behaviors a defendant may have exhibited when confronted with leading questioning or negative feedback during a Miranda waiver or confession (see Frumkin, in press). The GSS should not be used to assess whether a Miranda waiver or confession was voluntary or whether a confession was false.

The reviewers note that the GSS has limitations. Its normative data are based upon populations in Great Britain and Iceland. Its simplicity invites misuse whereby clinicians put undue weight on individual scores without viewing the data as one piece of what needs to be a comprehensive assessment to address issues pertinent to Miranda waiver and confessions. It is also not meant to provide data suggesting whether or not a confession is true of false. Someone may have high GSS scores, be highly suggestive, and be susceptible to influence, yet still have committed the offense for which he or she confessed. Nevertheless, psychologists now have a unique, objective, standardized test to help in their assessment in confession-related forensic cases.


Baxter, J., & Bain, S. (2002). Faking interrogative suggestibility: The truth machine. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 7, 219-225.
Frumkin, I. B. (in press). Psychological evaluations in Miranda waiver and confession cases. In R. Denny & R. Sullivan (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology in the criminal forensic context. New York: Guilford Publications.
Grisso, T. (1986). Evaluating competencies: Forensic assessments and instruments. New York: Plenum Press.
Gudjonsson, G. (2003). The psychology of interrogations and confessions: A handbook. West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons.
Gudjonsson, G., Rutter, S., & Clare, I. (1995). The relationship between suggestibility and anxiety among suspects detained at police stations. Psychological Medicine, 25, 875-878.
Richardson, G., & Smith, P. (1993). The inter-rater reliability of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales. Personality & Individual Differences, 14, 251-253.

“All the Scales are applicable to evaluating the validity of witnesses accounts as well as those of suspects. Indeed, it could be argued that the Scales are relevant to any interview situation, including a clinical interview.  It is a common misconception that the Scales were developed exclusively to assess the validity of the individual’s self-incriminating admissions to the police.”  GSS manual, p. 29

Research on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales

Interrogative suggestibility and its relationship with personality, perceptual defensiveness and extraordinary beliefs.
Haraldsson, Erlendur. U Iceland, Reykjavík
Personality and Individual Differences, Vol 6(6), 1985. pp. 765-767.
14 female and 65 male undergraduates completed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), the Defense Mechanism Technique, an Icelandic translation of G. H. Gudjonsson’s (see record 1985-11147-001) Suggestibility Scale (GSS), and a paranormal belief measure. Suggestibility was found to correlate significantly with the Lie scale of the EPQ, the degree of perceptual defensiveness, and belief in witchcraft, spiritualism, and precognition. The GSS scores were consistent with norms for the British GSS, suggesting that the GSS can be used cross-culturally.

The relationship between interrogative suggestibility and acquiescence: Empirical findings and theoretical implications.
Gudjonsson, Gisli H.. Bethlem Royal Hosp, Beckenham, England
Personality and Individual Differences, Vol 7(2), 1986. pp. 195-199.
Investigated the relationship between interrogative suggestibility, as measured by G. H. Gudjonsson’s (see record 1985-11147-001) suggestibility scale (GSS), and acquiescence (i.e., the tendency to agree with questionnaire statements regardless of content). 30 males (mean age 22 yrs) completed the GSS and 2 tests of acquiescence. Acquiescence was found to correlate positively with suggestibility, particularly after negative feedback had been applied during the interrogation. It is suggested that uncertainty and self-concept evaluations are relevant to suggestibility and acquiescence.

One hundred alleged false confession cases: Some normative data.
Gudjonsson, Gisli H.. U London, Inst of Psychiatry, England
British Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol 29(2), May, 1990. pp. 249-250.
Examined the psychological characteristics of individuals who retract self-incriminating admissions made during police interviewing by comparing 100 alleged false confessors with 104 other forensic referrals on 4 psychological variables. Measures used included the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale. The 2 groups differed significantly on tests of intelligence, suggestibility, compliance, and acquiescence. Normative data are provided.

Interrogative suggestibility: Factor analysis of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (GSS 2).
Gudjonsson, Gisli H.. U London Inst of Psychiatry, England
Personality and Individual Differences, Vol 13(4), Apr, 1992. pp. 479-481.
Factor analyzed and rotated the 20 ‘Yield’ and 20 ‘Shift’ items on the parallel form (G. H. Gudjonsson; see record 1988-03213-001) of the GudjonssonSuggestibility Scale for 100 forensic male patients and 29 normal male adult controls. As in the case of the original scale (Gudjonsson; see record 1985-11147-001), the ‘Yield’ and ‘Shift’ items loaded on separate factors, supporting the view that at least 2 types of interrogative suggestibility exist. The internal consistency for the ‘Yield 1,’ ‘Yield 2,’ and ‘Shift’ subscales were 0.87, 0.90, and 0.79, respectively.

The inter-rater reliability of the GudjonssonSuggestibility Scale.
Richardson, Graeme., Smith, Paul
Personality and Individual Differences, Vol 14(1), Jan, 1993. pp. 251-253.
Examined the interrater reliability of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale(GSS1) of G. H. Gudjonsson (see record 1985-11147-001). Data from 57 young people (aged 10.9–17.6 yrs) exhibiting disturbed and disordered behavior show the interrater reliability of the GSS1 to be very high. Rater difficulties in applying GSS1 scoring criteria are identified.

The inter-rater reliability of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (Form 2).
Clare, Isabel C. H., Gudjonsson, Gisli H., Rutter, Susan C., Cross, Philippa
British Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol 33(3), Sep, 1994. pp. 357-365.
Assessed the interrater reliability of Form 2 of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (G. H. Gudjonsson; see record 1988-03213-001). 101 individuals (aged 17–69 yrs) with different levels of intelligence completed Form 2 of the scale to provide data on memory, suggestibility, and confabulation. Three raters scored the data from each S independently. The intra-class correlation coefficients for all memory and suggestibility measures were both very high and highly significant, thus indicating a high level of inter-rater reliability. In contrast, the correlations for confabulation on immediate and delayed recall were much lower. Guidelines are provided to refine scoring of memory and suggestibility and to clarify the definition of confabulation.

The relationship of confabulation to the memory, intelligence, suggestibility and personality of prison inmates.
Gudjonsson, Gisli H., Sigurdsson, Jon F.
Applied Cognitive Psychology, Vol 10(1), Feb, 1996. pp. 85-92.
Explored the relationship of confabulation (CFB) to memory, intelligence, suggestibility, and personality, as measured by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and the Gough Socialisation Scale. Ss were 255 Icelandic prison inmates (mean age 30 yrs). CFB was measured from the memory narrative of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (GSS). The 2 components of CFB (distortions and fabrications) were scored and analyzed separately. Distortions and fabrications correlated poorly with each other, and CFB scores correlated very poorly with the other psychological variables. The only positive correlations were a positive relationship with GSS shift and a negative relationship with intelligence.

The Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (GSS): Further data on its reliability, validity, and metacognition correlates.
Merckelbach, Harald., Muris, Peter, Wessel, Ineke, van Koppen, Peter J.
Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, Vol 26(2), 1998. pp. 203-210.
Presents 2 studies in which the psychometric properties and validity of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale (GSS; G. H. Gudjonsson, 1984) were investigated. In study 1, 40 18–26-yr-old undergraduates completed the GSS. Results indicate that the GSS has reasonable internal consistency. Additionally, a modest, but significant test–retest stability was found for the GSS. In study 2, 53 18–27-yr-old undergraduates saw a slide series and were then confronted with leading questions about the critical (emotional) slide. In addition, they completed the Yield scale of the GSS. A small but significant correlation was found between Ss’ Yield scores on the GSS and their susceptibility to leading questions about the slide series. Findings suggest that the GSS is a promising instrument for measuring interrogative suggestibility.

Interrogative suggestibility: The role of interviewer behaviour.
Bain, Stella A., Baxter, James S.
Legal and Criminological Psychology, Vol 5(Part 1), Feb, 2000. pp. 123-133.
Assessed the effect of 2 interviewer styles on measures of interrogative suggestibility obtained using the first of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales(GSS1). It was hypothesized that a generally abrupt demeanor adopted by the interviewer would produce greater psychological distance, and therefore higher GSS1 scores, than a friendly demeanor. The study had a single factor between participants design. 55 participants (aged 17–74 yrs) were tested on the GSS1 by an interviewer whose behavior was either friendly or abrupt. Two of the GSS1 measures appeared to be biased significantly by interviewer style. Participants tested in the abrupt condition gained higher scores for Shift and Total Suggestibility than those in the friendly condition. These results are consistent with the view that the GSS1 provides measures of 2 different types of suggestibility. However, this finding may also mean that while initial responses to leading questions are mediated by more stable cognitive factors that are relatively unaffected by interviewer demeanor, post-feedback scores may be more sensitive to the social aspects of suggestibility.

Minimizing interrogative suggestibility.
Boon, Julian C. W., Baxter, James S.
Legal and Criminological Psychology, Vol 5(Part2), Sep, 2000. pp. 273-284.
Use of warnings about the possible presence of misinformation in questions put to witnesses can reduce the extent to which such misinformation is incorporated in witnesses’ recall. Previous studies of this phenomenon, known as ‘interrogative suggestibility’, have not, however, attempted to establish the degree to which it can be reduced in this way. The present study used the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale 2 (GSS-2) in an attempt to make this relative judgment, based on population norms established for the scale. 60 undergraduates (aged 18–33 yrs) were allocated to 1 of 3 groups: (1) a Warned Group underwent the GSS-2 without negative feedback but also with a warning concerning the possible presence of misinformation in questions; (2) a Neutral,Group underwent a variant of the GSS-2 in which negative feedback was not administered; and (3) a Standard Group underwent the normal GSS-2 procedure. The hypothesized pattern of results—that the provision of a warning would enhance the ability of participants to resist misinformation without completely eliminating its acceptance—was confirmed.

Possible false confession in a military court-martial: A case study.
Talmadge, Stephen A.. US Navy, Medical Service Corps, Twentynine Palms, CA, US
Military Psychology, Vol 13(4), 2001. pp. 235-241.
Presents a case study wherein a psychologist analyzes a defendant and his legal case. The evaluation in this case study included a clinical interview and an administration and interpretation of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III test, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 test, the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale and Compliance Scale, and the Self-Monitoring Scale. Results of the defendant’s interrogation and his psychological testing profiles are presented, which suggest a situation that was not extremely coercive but in which a cooperative defendant may have confessed because of tacit pressure. In the end the accused was acquitted. Audiotaping or videotaping and more research on this subject are recommended.

Faking interrogative suggestibility: The truth machine.
Baxter, James S., Bain, Stella A.
Legal and Criminological Psychology, Vol 7(2), Sep, 2002. pp. 219-225.
Investigated possible indicators of malingering or ‘faking bad’ on the GudjonssonSuggestibility Scales (GSS). It was hypothesized that participants (Ss) who were issued with a set of instructions that primed them to appear gullible and susceptible to pressure would exhibit a unique pattern of scores on the scales that would differentiate them from both normal adults and genuinely vulnerable populations. The study had a single factor between participants design. Ss were tested in either one of two conditions: standard or faking. 42 Ss (aged 18-57 yrs) took part in the study. Ss were a mix of undergraduates, postgraduate students, and professionals. Only Yield 1 scores were found to be significantly different between the two conditions. Ss in the faking condition gained higher scores on this measure on both the GSS 1 and GSS 2. Results indicate that whilst fakers may identify the need to yield to leading questions as a strategy for faking interrogative suggestibility, they do not identify the need to make shifts in their responses. An elevated Yield 1 score in the absence of any other raised scores on the scalesmay therefore be indicative of faking bad on the Gudjonsson SuggestibilityScales.

Suggestibility and confessions.
Trowbridge, Brett C.
American Journal of Forensic Psychology, Vol 21(1), 2003. pp. 5-23.
False confessions do occur and can cause people to be wrongfully convicted; various types of false confessions are discussed. Research shows trickery by interrogators can lead to large numbers of false confessions even among high-functioning subjects. The Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales (GSS) are used to determine how suggestible subjects are in response to leading questions and/or negative feedback. Research with the GSS shows that adolescents, those with low IQs and those who are acquiescent or anxious are especially suggestible. Suggestions are made as to how to evaluate defendants who have retracted confessions, and are now claiming they made false confessions.

Interrogative suggestibility: interactions between interviewees’ self-esteem and interviewer style.
Baxter, James S., Bain, Stella A.Personality and Individual Differences, Vol 35(6), Oct, 2003. pp. 1285-1292.
Levels of self-esteem may interact with influences on interrogative suggestibilityidentified by Baxter and Boon (2000) and Bain and Baxter (2000). The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of variations in interviewer manner on scores obtained on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales GSS 1 (Gudjonsson, 1984) from participants with high and low levels of self-esteem. The study had a two-factor between-participants design. Equal numbers of participants with high and low self-esteem were tested on the GSS 1 by an interviewer whose behaviour was either ‘Abrupt’ or ‘Friendly’. Results showed a main effect for self-esteem with high levels being associated with reduced suggestibility and low levels associated with increased esteem suggestibility. No significant main effect was found for condition: overall responses were not significantly different between Friendly and Abrupt conditions. However, a significant interaction was observed. High self-esteem participants demonstrated reduced suggestibility from Friendly to Abrupt condition, whereas low self-esteem participants’ scores increased from Friendly to Abrupt.

Minimizing extraneous, interviewer-based interrogative suggestibility.
Boon, Julian C. W., Baxter, James S.
Legal and Criminological Psychology, Vol 9(2), Sep, 2004. pp. 229-238.
Objectives: Previous work has established that interviewer demeanour can distort interviewee performance on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales (GSS). The present study assesses the effect of reducing interpersonal interaction in the GSS procedure. Interviewees’ interrogative suggestibility (IS) scores obtained under four conditions were compared with established norms for the scales to identify the method most likely to reduce the effects of interpersonal factors when using the scales. Method: Participants were allocated at random to one of four conditions: (1) standard procedure but with questions in writing (Written Questions), (2) condition 1 procedure plus written answer (Written Questions: Written Answers), (3) condition 1 procedure but with written negative feedback (Written Questions: Written Feedback), and finally (4) condition 2 procedure but with written negative feedback (Written Questions: Written Answers: Written Feedback). Results: A key finding was that the procedure used in condition 4, in which verbal contact between interviewer and interviewee was least, produced GSS scores most closely approximating established norms for the GSS. GSS scores were higher in the other groups, although the differences between the GSS scores of conditions 4 and 2 were not significant. Conclusion: The findings suggest ways in which the effects of interviewer demeanour on IS may be reduced. The potential usefulness of adopting new procedures for administering the GSSs is discussed, as is the potential for developing a computerized format for the GSSs.

Interacting influences on interrogative suggestibility.
Bain, Stella A., Baxter, James S., Fellowes, Vivienne.
Legal and Criminological Psychology, Vol 9(2), Sep, 2004. pp. 239-252.
Purpose: Research using the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales (GSS) has found interrogative suggestibility (IS) to vary as a function of the overall demeanour of the interviewer, warnings about the presence of misleading information, and the self-esteem of the interviewee, as outlined by Gudjonssonand Clark (1986). The present study attempted to assess how these factors interact. Method: The study had a three-factor between-participants design: interviewer demeanour × instructional manipulation × self-esteem. One hundred and twenty undergraduates took part in the study. Results: Participants reporting lower self-esteem scored higher on the GSS ‘Shift’ measure than participants reporting higher levels of self-esteem. Participants faced with a ‘Friendly’ interviewer scored lower on the GSS Yield 1 and Total Suggestibility measures than did those participants faced with a more ‘Abrupt’ interviewer. Participants warned about the presence of misleading information scored lower on Yield 1 and Total Suggestibility. A potentially key finding was that participants who received a warning demonstrated an increased number of Shifts in the Friendly condition compared with those who were not warned. In the Abrupt condition this pattern was reversed. Conclusion: The results supported studies showing that all three variables tested affect levels of IS but further suggested that optimal interviewer support for interviewees’ discrepancy detection may be provided either by a relaxed interviewer manner or by warnings alone, but not by both.

Competence to Confess: A Case of False Confession and a False Friend.
Sullivan, James P.
Forensic neuropsychology casebook. Heilbronner, Robert L., (Ed); pp. 285-304; New York, NY, US: The Guilford Press; 2005. xiv, 370 pp.
This chapter presents the case of a 36-year-old male defendant by the name of ‘William Johnson’ who had allegedly shot and killed an acquaintance while drinking. He was facing a charge of first-degree murder. Mr. Johnson reportedly had a history that included prenatal insult, special education, numerous head injuries, and chronic alcohol abuse. The defense attorney had concerns about her client’s cognitive function, specifically how it may have impacted Mr. Johnson’s understanding and appreciation of his Miranda rights. The author reviewed the transcript and audiotape of Johnson’s statement to the police. In this tape the author noted that an acquaintance of Johnson from Alcoholic’s Anonymous, who also was a member of the police team, entered the interrogation room and attempted to elicit a confession. Additionally, the author conducted collateral interviews with the defendant’s mother, wife and daughter. Medical and educational records were reportedly unavailable despite documented requests. The formal assessment consisted of a structured clinical interview and cognitive and neuropsychological assessments. Results of cognitive and neuropsychological testing were consistent with impaired functions in several domains. Results of personality assessment specifically intended to evaluate his likely behavior in an interrogative setting describe Mr. Johnson as a very suggestible and compliant individual, especially with authority figures. The obtained results offered converging evidence, drawn from multiple sources, that Mr. Johnson’s ability to offer a knowing and intelligent waiver was likely compromised. Similarly, his will is likely to be more easily overcome than that of the normal person. Additionally, review of the statement, as detailed earlier, raised some very significant issues about Mr. Johnson’s ability to withstand interrogative pressure when the ‘false friend’ appeared on the scene. The judge ruled that Mr. Johnson’s statement to the police was inadmissible. When it was all over, the author really felt that his efforts had been useful in helping justice to be served. In many respects, this assessment experience served to further emphasize the importance of several guidelines that the author has adopted over the years, including: the necessity to familiarize oneself with a variety of forensic instruments and an ongoing awareness of the guidelines for forensic psychologists.

False confessions in the lab: Do plausibility and consequences matter?
Horselenberg, Robert, et. al.
Psychology, Crime & Law, Vol 12(1), Jan, 2006. pp. 61-75.
The present paper describes three studies that examined false confessions in the laboratory. Studies 1 (N = 56) and 2 (N = 9) relied on the by now classic computer crash paradigm introduced by Kassin and Kiechel (Psychological Science, 7, 125-128, 1996). Study 3 (N = 12) employed a novel paradigm in which undergraduate participants were falsely accused of exam fraud. Our data indicate that false confessions do occur, even when conditions become more ecologically valid. Furthermore, we explored whether individual differences in compliance, suggestibility, fantasy proneness, dissociation, and cognitive failures are related to false confessions. Of these, only fantasy proneness was associated with false confessions.

Interrogative pressure and responses to minimally leading questions.
Baxter, James S., Boon, Julian C. W., Marley, Charles.
Personality and Individual Differences, Vol 40(1), Jan, 2006. pp. 87-98.
A firm rather than a friendly interviewer demeanour may make interviewees more likely to alter their initial responses to questions during requestioning. Conversely, warnings that an interviewer may attempt to be misleading may lower interviewees’ trust, heightening their vigilance and accuracy. Participants were tested under one of four conditions: ‘Friendly’ or ‘Firm’ interviewer demeanour, with or without warnings to be vigilant under questioning. The Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale 2 (GSS 2) was adapted to include only questions which were not overtly leading, based on each scale’s narrative. The standard GSS ‘Shift’, ‘Memory Recall’, and Total Confabulation’ scores were calculated for each condition. Interviewees were most likely to alter their initial answers to questions when the interviewer adopted a Firm demeanour, without a warning to be vigilant. These findings support the predictions of the Gudjonsson and Clark (1986) model of interrogative suggestibility which relate to the effects of interrogative pressure.