Some people will come to the police and make a false confession voluntarily. Gudjonsson listed several features shared by these people.


Exclusion: any pressure or coercion from the police or other parties (i.e., not voluntary)


Motivations - one or more of the following:

(1) The desire to be in the papers or to impress someone (to achieve notoriety).

(2) The inability to separate fact from fantasy associated with psychotic mental illness.

(3) Feelings of guilt and/or desire for punishment, associated with depression.

(4) The desire to protect someone else (lover, family member, group member).



• The desire to protect a lover is a common theme in movies.

• "Taking the fall" for a gang boss in return for future reward can be a perfectly rational decision.


Often the confessions are recognized as false because of:

(1) recognition of mental illness

(2) evidence that the person was someplace else at the time

(3) lack of knowledge about the crime or only knowledge of facts reported in the news

(4) failure to match forensic evidence (fingerprint, DNA, blood type, etc.)


However, people who have made voluntary false confessions have been convicted of crimes that they did not commit.


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