By Andy Henion
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Sleep-deprived people are much more likely to sign false confessions than rested individuals, according to a new study that has important implications for police interrogation practices. The odds of signing a false confession are 4.5 times higher for people who have been awake for 24 hours than for those who had slept eight hours the night before.
“This is the first direct evidence that sleep deprivation increases the likelihood that a person will falsely confess to wrongdoing that never occurred,” says Kimberly M. Fenn, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University. “It’s a crucial first step toward understanding the role of sleep deprivation in false confessions and, in turn, raises complex questions about the use of sleep deprivation in the interrogation of innocent and guilty suspects.”
False confessions in the United States are thought to account for 15 percent-25 percent of wrongful convictions. And past research has indicated that the interrogation of unrested, possibly sleep-deprived suspects is commonplace.