Toronto Metropolitan University
Basarke_Sonya.pdf (2.58 MB)

"You have the right to remain silent, so why are you talking?" : interrogation rights, decision making, and the availability heuristic

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posted on 2021-05-22, 17:57 authored by Sonya Basarke
A police interrogation is one mechanism by which a false confession is sometimes obtained, which in turn can lead to a wrongful conviction. Given the severity of this consequence, rights for criminal suspects have been developed to protect the innocent. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of these rights has been called into question, as there is evidence that most people do not fully understand their rights, and the rate at which people choose to waive their rights is extremely high. The current study examined factors relating to people's interpretation of their rights when asked to speak with police. It was found that participants retained their rights at higher rates than expected. In addition, the results indicate that it is possible to affect waiver rates by manipulating the availability of information relating to negative or positive interrogation outcomes. This could have practical implications for how criminal suspects' rights are administered.





  • Master of Arts


  • Psychology

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis