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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2004;32(4):364-70.

Alcoholic blackout for criminally relevant behavior.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Psychology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. k.vanoorsouw@psychology.unimaas.nl

Abstract

Some criminal suspects claim to have had an alcohol-induced blackout during crimes they have committed. Are alcoholic blackouts a frequently occurring phenomenon, or are they merely used as an excuse to minimize responsibility? Frequency and type of blackout were surveyed retrospectively in two healthy samples (n = 256 and n = 100). Also, a comparison of blood alcohol concentrations was made between people who did and those who did not claim a blackout when stopped in a traffic-control study (n = 100). In the two survey studies, blackouts were reported frequently by the person himself (or herself) and others (67% and 76%, respectively) in contrast to the traffic-control study (14%), in which blackouts were reported only when persons were involved in an accident. These results indicate that although blackouts during serious misbehavior are reported outside the court, both the denial and the claim of alcoholic blackout may serve a strategic function.

PMID:
15704619
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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