Research Network for Culture, Law and the Body


Interpsy: Psychology, Criminal Interrogation and the Impact of Knowledge, 1880-1940

How could knowledge make an impact in the world and on people’s lives? This project, funded by an MSCA postdoctoral fellowship under the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, investigates this question by studying the case of criminal interrogations and forensic psychology in Germany, France and the Netherlands between 1880 and 1940.

Obtaining confessions, often crucial to convince judges or juries of a suspect’s guilt, was a prime concern for many interrogators in 19th- and 20th-century continental Europe. Yet many suspects did not spontaneously confess. As a result, interrogators developed specific knowledge and techniques to obtain confessions, sometimes inspired by psychological insights. The goal of this project is to assess to what extent, why and how scientific innovations in psychology (particularly in experimental psychology and psychoanalysis) made an impact on criminal interrogations.

Read more on the Interpsy website.