Feeling sleepy? You might be at risk of falsely confessing to a crime you did not commit

If you are one of the millions of people who have listened to the podcast “Serial” or watched Netflix’s series “Making a Murderer,” you may believe there are innocent people in prison.

But long before the cases of Adnan Syed, Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey were brought to the public’s attention, we and other researchers have been hard at work studying how it is that innocent people sometimes go to prison for crimes they did not commit. In fact, a recent report documented that in 2015, there were a record number of exonerations in the United States.

While it’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine how many people have been wrongfully convicted in the United States, real-life cases reveal some of the common causes of wrongful conviction. Along with mistaken eyewitness testimony and flawed forensic science evidence, one leading cause of wrongful conviction is false confessions.

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