Coerced Internalized False Confessions

Coerced-internalized false confessions occur when suspects are gradually persuaded that they have committed a crime of which they have no recollection or when they have become so confused that they begin to mistrust their own memory and accept a false scenario suggested by the police. This type of confession can happen under the following two distinct conditions:

1. The suspects have no memory of the alleged offense, even whether or not they committed it. This can be a result of amnesia or alcohol-induced memory loss. In essence, the suspects have no clear recollection of what they were doing at the time the offense was committed and believe they must have committed the crime.

2. At the outset of the interview, the suspects have a clear recollection that they were not involved in the alleged offense. However, as a result of subtle manipulative techniques employed by the interrogator, they begin to distrust their own memory and beliefs. Interrogators attempt to undermine the suspects' confidence in their own recollection of events, which would create sufficient self-doubt and confusion to cause them to adjust their perceptions of reality.

In contrast to the makers of coerced-compliant false confessions, those who make coerced-internalized false confessions only retract their confessions when they realize, or suspect, that they are in fact innocent. These retractions can take considerable time and, occasionally, may never occur if the original memory of events becomes permanently distorted.

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