Why Confess? The Role of Instrumental and Symbolic Motivations on Confessions in an Interpersonal Context

Author: Carmen Yap

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 5 Mar 2018.

Yap, Carmen, 2015 Why Confess? The Role of Instrumental and Symbolic Motivations on Confessions in an Interpersonal Context, Flinders University, School of Psychology

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Abstract

The aim of the present research is to better understand the motivations driving the decision to confess in an interpersonal context. In a theoretical taxonomy I propose that individuals confess wrongdoing for either symbolic or instrumental reasons, and for individual or social purposes. These two orthogonal continua create a four-factor integrated model of motivations. That is, motivations driving the decision to confess can be individual instrumental (benefits to the self), individual symbolic (self-integrity), social instrumental (welfare of another) or social symbolic (group values and identity). Whether these motivations lead to confessions or non-confession depends on situational or dispositional factors such as the trustworthiness of the confidant and/or the offender's propensity to trust.

Keywords: confession,trust,motivation,transgressions
Subject: Psychology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2015
School: School of Psychology
Supervisor: Associate Professor Michael Wenzel