Gísli Guðjónsson

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Gísli Guðjónsson
Gísli Hannes Guðjónsson

(1947-10-26) 26 October 1947 (age 76)
EducationBrunel University London
University of Surrey
Occupation(s)Academic, professor
Known forAuthority on suggestibility and false confessions

Gísli Hannes Guðjónsson, CBE (born 26 October 1947) is an Icelandic-British academic, educator, forensic psychologist and former detective.[2] He is Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry of King's College London and a Professor in the Psychology Department at Reykjavik University.[3] Gísli is an internationally renowned authority on suggestibility and false confessions and is one of the world's leading experts on false memory syndrome.[2]


Gísli was born on 26 October 1947 to Guðjón Aðalsteinn Guðmundsson and Þóra Hannesdóttir.[4] His twin brother joined the Reykjavík Criminal Investigation Police while he chose to study economics at Brunel University London (BSc, 1975), but changed to psychology whilst in his second year.[5][6] He completed his studies at the University of Surrey (MSc, 1977; PhD, 1981).[7] In 1982, together with MacKeith he coined the term memory distrust syndrome, to describe those who distrust their own memories and are motivated to rely on external (non-self) sources to verify the accuracy of memories.[8]

In the 1990s he worked as head of forensic psychology services and clinical psychologist to the Bethlem Royal Hospital and Maudsley Hospital.[9]

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to clinical psychology.[10][11]


Gísli's expert testimony was the basis for the convictions of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four being overturned.[12] He created the Gudjonsson suggestibility scale to measure how susceptible someone is to coercion during an interrogation. An author of several books, Gudjonsson was a coauthor on the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) White Paper by Saul Kassin et al. (2010) titled "Police-induced confessions: Risk factors and recommendations."[13]

Selected list of publications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours 2011: list in full". The Daily Telegraph. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b Cox, Simon (May 2014). "The Reykjavik Confessions". BBC News. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Science and Justice" (PDF). The British Academy of Forensic Sciences. 5 May 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Guðjón Aðalsteinn Guðmundsson". Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic). 8 January 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  5. ^ Adeane, Anthony (2018). Out of Thin Air: coming to Netflix this year. Hachette UK. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-78648-745-2 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Gudjonsson, Gisli (2014). "How I got started: From memory distrust to false confessions". Applied Cognitive Psychology. 28 (5): 809–811. doi:10.1002/acp.3037.
  7. ^ ‘GUDJONSSON, Prof. Gisli Hannes’, Who's Who 2016, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2016
  8. ^ van Bergen, Saskia; Jelicic, Marko; Merckelbach, Harald (2008). "Interrogation techniques and memory distrust". Psychology, Crime & Law. 14 (5): 425–434. doi:10.1080/10683160701822533. S2CID 28272007. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  9. ^ "House of Commons Hansard". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 15 March 1995. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  10. ^ "No. 59808". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2011. p. 7.
  11. ^ "Main list of the 2011 Queen's birthday honours recipients" (PDF). BBC News UK. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  12. ^ Gudjonsson, Gisli H. (2002). "The 'Guildford Four' and the 'Birmingham Six'". In Gudjonsson, Gisli H (ed.). The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions: A Handbook. John Wiley & Sons. doi:10.1002/9780470713297. ISBN 9780470844618.
  13. ^ Kassin, Drizin, Grisso, Gudjonsson, Leo, & Redlich (2010). Police-induced confessions: Risk factors and recommendations. Law and Human Behavior, 34, 3-38.