Pretty Scary. She Can Convince 70% Strangers That They Had Committed a Crime

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Pretty Scary. She Can Convince 70% Strangers That They Had Committed a Crime

A 28-year-old investment banker was brutally raped and beaten while jogging in New York’s Central Park in April 1989. The city went berserk. Five boys of color, ages 14 to 16, soon confessed and were convicted — but not before being called “animals,” “crazed misfits” and “park marauders” by anyone with a mouth or pen. Indeed, the boys were treated like animals, and they served up to 13 years in prison before being exonerated based on “shocking” new DNA evidence and a real confession from serial rapist Matias Reyes. The Central Park Five had falsely confessed, claiming they’d been coerced by police.

Don’t think that it could happen to you? Sorry, but a first-of-its-kind study shows that it could — easily. With a little misinformation, encouragement and three hours, researchers were able to convince

70 percent of participants that they’d committed a crime.

The college-aged students who participated in the study didn’t merely confess; they recalled full-blown, detailed experiences, says lead researcher Julia Shaw, a lecturer in forensic psychology from the University of Bedfordshire. The results were “definitely unexpected,” says Shaw, who predicted only a 30 percent rate.

A majority of students were persuaded: They were criminals.

So, how did they plant false memory of a crime in young adults who had never even been in contact with the police? Shaw and Stephen Porter, a forensic psychologist at the University of British Columbia, first got a few facts about the faux criminal’s teen years — the name of her best friend, hometown, etc. — from parents or a guardian. (An ethical committee said it was OK.) Then, during three 45-minute interviews, Shaw extracted information from the students about one true experience (which they remembered) and one fabricated experience (of which she convinced them). After a few hours of feeding the students tidbits of the verified info, she added them up to equal her fabricated crime — and a majority of students were persuaded: They were criminals.

Dr. Julia Shaw
SOURCEImage Courtesy of Dr. Shaw

One student, when told she had assaulted a classmate in her teens, “elaborately” filled in all the blanks: what weapon she used (a rock), what the argument was over (a boy), what she was having for dinner when the 5-0 came a’knockin — even the color of the officers’ hair.

False memories don’t happen quite like Inception. More like a Wikipedia page that can be edited (by you and others), says Elizabeth Loftus, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California, Irvine. Once people believe something to be true, their imagination kicks in, and they begin to visualize the situation using past experiences from themselves, others, even movies, she says. When the patchwork of memory gets stitched together and internalized, truth and fiction become indistinguishable, Loftus says.

And police use Shaw’s tactics, argues Mark Godsey, co-founder and director of the Ohio Innocence Project, an advocacy group for the wrongly convicted. A really heavy-handed interrogation could consist of all the features of Shaw’s study and worse, criminal consequences.

Sure, “the system isn’t perfect,” says Albie Esparza, public information officer for the San Francisco Police Department. But the idea that police use the good cop, bad cop routine is “very Hollywood,” he says. In fact, it’s standard procedure to record interrogations either using video or audio, he says, preventing fishy business. Plus, the police have just as much interest as the public in nabbing the real criminal, Esparza says. “No department wants the image of locking up innocent people.”

Read more: www.ozy.com

#JuliaShaw #Inception #OhioInnocenceProject #CrimeFraming #CrimePsychology #ForensicPsychology

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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