• Behind the confession: Relating false confession, interrogative compliance, personality traits, and psychopathy

      Larmour, Simon R.; Bergstrøm, Henriette; Gillen, Christopher T. A.; Forth, Adelle E.; Carleton University; Institute of Criminology (Springer, 2014)
      The present study further supports the established notion that personality traits contribute to the phenomenon of false confessions and compliance in an interrogative setting. Furthermore, the study provides an investigation into the more recent interest in the potential effect of psychopathic traits in this context. A sample of university students (N = 607) completed questionnaires measuring psychopathic traits, interrogative compliance, and the big five personality factors. Of these, only 4.9% (n=30) claimed to have falsely confessed to an academic or criminal offense, with no participant taking the blame for both types of offense. Across measures the big five personality traits were the strongest predictors of compliance. The five personality traits accounted for 17.9 % of the total variance in compliance, with neuroticism being the strongest predictor, followed by openness and agreeableness. Psychopathy accounted for 3.3% of variance, with the lifestyle facet being the only significant predictor. After controlling for the big five personality factors, psychopathy only accounted for a small percentage of interrogative compliance, indicating that interrogators should take into account a person’s personality traits during the interrogation.
    • Individual differences and rating errors in first impressions of psychopathy

      Gillen, Christopher T. A.; Bergstrøm, Henriette; Forth, Adelle E.; The University of Southern Mississippi; University of Derby; Carleton University (Sage, 2016)
      The current study is the first to investigate whether individual differences in personality are related to improved first impression accuracy when appraising psychopathy in female offenders from thin-slices of information. The study also investigated the types of errors laypeople make when forming these judgments. Sixty-seven undergraduates assessed 22 offenders on their level of psychopathy, violence, likability, and attractiveness. Psychopathy rating accuracy improved as rater extroversion-sociability and agreeableness increased and when neuroticism and lifestyle and antisocial characteristics decreased. These results suggest that traits associated with nonverbal rating accuracy or social functioning may be important in threat detection. Raters also made errors consistent with error management theory, suggesting that laypeople overappraise danger when rating psychopathy.