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34 Law & Hum. Behav. 1 (2010)

handle is hein.journals/lwhmbv34 and id is 1 raw text is: Law Hum Behav (2010) 34:1-2
DOI 10.1007/s10979-009-9213-9
INTRO((CT(    )N
An American Psychology-Law Society Scientific Review Paper
on Police Interrogation and Confession
William C. Thompson
Published online: 21 January 2010
© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association 2009

This issue of Law & Human Behavior contains a special
article, Police-Induced Confessions: Risk Factors and
Recommendations, by Saul M. Kassin, Steven A. Drizin,
Thomas Grisso, Gisli H. Gudjonsson, Richard A. Leo, and
Allison D. Redlich. This article is a Scientific Review
Paper of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS),
Division 41 of the American Psychological Association. It
is only the second such paper to be authorized and
approved by AP-LS in its 42 year history.
A major goal of AP-LS is to apply the knowledge and
insights of psychology to important issues arising in the
legal system. Members of AP-LS speak to the legal com-
munity and the public in a variety of ways, including
publications and presentations, expert testimony, and
amicus briefs. In most cases, these communications reflect
the perspective of individual authors and experts. There are
times, however, when it is helpful for the organization
itself to speak. By authorizing and endorsing Scientific
Review Papers, the Society makes known the consensus
views of its members and lends its authority to the con-
clusions reached. Scientific Review Papers are not merely
the opinions of their authors, they are vetted and reviewed
to assure they reflect the best research and analysis the
Society has to offer.
In 1995, the AP-LS Executive Committee first approved
an initiative to write Scientific Review Papers summa-
rizing the psychological research in specific policy areas
(Wiener, 1998). The purpose of such papers was to:

(a) plan the foundation for science in translation
briefs; (b) represent in an objective report the litera-
ture in an area ripe for litigation and/or legislation,
and (c) educate others (psychologists, lawyers, leg-
islators, and the public) about contributions that
psychological knowledge can make to policy debates
(quoted in Wiener, 1998).
The first Scientific Review Paper, approved by AP-LS in
1998, concerned eyewitness identification (Wells, Small,
Penrod, Malpass, Fulero, & Brimacombe, 1998). That
paper proved extremely influential in subsequent policy
debates about line-ups and other eyewitness identification
procedures. By providing an intellectual framework for
analysis of systemic factors that affect eyewitness accu-
racy, and by distilling specific policy recommendations
from a broad array of research, it set the agenda for policy
discussion and channeled those discussions in productive
directions. The paper was the foundation for a subsequent
National Institute of Justice policy paper (Technical
Working Group for Eyewitness Evidence, 1999). Many of
its recommendations, such as procedures for composing
line-ups and instructing witnesses, are beginning to be
implemented nationwide.
The Scientific Review Paper that appears in this issue is
the product of a lengthy process of review. Saul Kassin
initiated the process by proposing, in late 2005, that a
Review Paper on police interrogation and confession be
drafted. His written proposal provided background on the
state of psychological science in the area and made a strong
argument that the time had come for AP-LS to present an
authoritative review of existing research and to offer
analysis and recommendations on key policy issues. A key
factor motivating the paper was the surprising finding, from
studies of post-conviction DNA exonerations, that false

1 Springer

W. C. Thompson (®)
Department of Criminology, Law & Society,
University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
e-mail: William.Thompson@uci.edu; wcthomps@uci.edu

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