Intel honors three Kennedy seniors
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For her senior research thesis, Abramowitz, 17, of Merrick, studied false confessions with Dr. Saul Kassin, a psychology professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
“Legal scholars have for years assumed that the confession is the gold standard of evidence,” Kassin said in an interview for the Vera Institute of Justice, “and when you had a confession, you had some certainty of conviction."
Confessions, however, can be unreliable, in part because innocent people who are interrogated by police often falsely confess simply because they are too mentally or physically exhausted to continue answering questions.
Abramowitz published this and other key findings in her research paper, “Why Innocent People Comply with Police Requests: The Role of Just World Beliefs and Public Self-Consciousness.” In addition to Intel, the paper earned her semifinalist accolades at the recent Long Island Psychology Fair.
And Abramowitz submitted it to the American Psychology Law Society. The society, to Abramowitz’s surprise and delight, accepted her paper and invited her to speak at its next conference in New Orleans, March 6-8. She will be the society’s youngest presenter ever.
In an earlier interview, Frank said she was thrilled for Abramowitz. “She was really able to create her own project and go all the way with it,” Frank said.