« Bias, variance, random errors and honest mistakes | Main | Happenings »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jon Peltier

Your title is misleading, and I don't think it's what you wanted to say.

If one were guilty, it wouldn't be a false confession, would it?

The article says nothing about how likely it is that an innocent person confesses (compared to a guilty person?).

The article still is troubling.


Jon: Good point. The title should just say "Innocence makes one make a false confession". It's a paraphrase of something one of the researchers said that I quoted in the book, and I probably got it half wromg.

The point is that the people who make false confessions often do so because they believe so strongly in their own innocence that they feel there will be other evidence that can rescue them despite making the confession (say when pressured with false lie detector test results).

It is without doubt that there are not too many such cases. Since any statistical decision making system will generate false positives, it is not surprising and unavoidable that such cases exist. Neither here nor in my book do I argue that we should have a system that has no false positives.

I think these articles help us understand the "cost" of such mistakes. It is difficult for us to really feel the pain of such mistakes until it happens to someone close to us, unfortuately. I really want to again commend people like the Innocence Project because they are trying to pick up after the "trade-offs" made by society.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Business analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker. Currently at Columbia. See my full bio.

Next Events

Feb: 11 JMP Explorers Seminar, Marlow, UK
Streaming link

Apr: 10-12 INFORMS Analytics Conference, Orlando, FL

Apr: 21 UMSL Digital Media Marketing Conference, St. Louis

Past Events

See here

Future Courses (New York)

Spring: Statistical Reasoning & Numbersense, rSQUAREedge (4 weeks)

Summer: Applied Analytics Frameworks & Methods, Columbia (6 weeks)

Junk Charts Blog

Link to junkcharts

Graphics design by Amanda Lee


  • only in Big Data