Psychological assumptions underlying credibility assessments in Finnish asylum determinations

Jenny Skrifvars, Veronica Sui, Jan Antfolk, Tanja van Veldhuizen, Julia Korkman

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Credibility assessments are an important but complex part of asylum procedures. The current study investigated psychological assumptions underlying credibility assessments in Finnish first-instance asylum procedures and how these assumptions fit with widely accepted psychological science. Following previous research, we categorized assumptions in 56 real-life asylum cases from the Finnish Immigration Service. We found that asylum officials held assumptions about how truthful applicants present their claims, the plausibility of individuals’ behavior in their home countries, and applicants’ knowledge about asylum procedures. The assumptions were only partially in line with psychological science on memory, trauma, intercultural communication, and decision-making. To improve decision-making, training programs for asylum officials should include relevant findings from psychological science. To increase the transparency and combat bias, the written determination letters should also include explicit information about the decision-makers’ reasoning processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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