Accountability and the Camera Perspective Bias in Videotaped Confessions

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Abstract

Prior research indicates that altering the perspective from which a videotaped confession is recorded influences assessments of the confession's voluntariness. The present study examined whether increasing decision makers’ sense of accountability attenuates this biasing effect of camera perspective. Participants in a high-accountability (but not a low-accountability) condition were told that they would have to justify their judgments concerning the voluntary status of a video-taped confession to a trial judge. Although supplementary measures indicated that high-accountability participants processed information contained in the video-taped confession more carefully and thoroughly, the camera perspective bias persisted. This result adds to a growing body of work indicating that the criminal justice system needs to be seriously concerned with how it acquires and utilizes videotaped confession evidence.

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