Forensic Psyc Lie Detection Flashcards Preview

PSYC3020 Applications > Forensic Psyc Lie Detection > Flashcards

Flashcards in Forensic Psyc Lie Detection Deck (31)
Loading flashcards...

Definition of Deception

“A successful or unsuccessful deliberate
attempt, without forewarning, to create
in another a belief which the
communicator considers to be untrue”


Types of Lies (DePaulo et al., 1996)

• Outright lies
• Exaggerations
• Subtle lies


Reasons to Lie
• 5 reasons (Vrij, 2000):

–To gain personal
–To avoid punishment
–To make a positive
impression on others
–To protect themselves
from embarrassment/
–For the sake of social
• Self-oriented vs.other-oriented


Frequency of Lying

• American diary study: college students
told 2 lies/day and community
members told 1 lie/day. Most lies were
self-serving (DePaulo, 1996)


• Frequency of lying depends on:

1. The personality and gender of the liar
2. The situation in which the lie is told
3. People to whom the lie is told


1. The personality and gender of the liar:

– Extroverts lie more than introverts
– Frequency of lies similar between
men and women
–Women tell more social lies
–When dating, women lie to improve
physical appearance, men lie to
exaggerate earning potential


2. The situation in which the lie is told:

– 90% lie to prospective date
– 83% lie to get a job


3. People to whom the lie is told:

– Lowest rate of lying with spouses
(1/10 interactions- mostly subtle)
– Highest rate of lying with strangers
– College students lie frequently to
their mothers (almost 50% of


Three ways to catch a liar

1. Observe their verbal and nonverbal
2. Analyse the content of what they say*
3. Examine their physiological responses


Behavioural Indicators of Deception

• Some verbal and nonverbal cues are more
likely to occur during deception than others,
depending on:
1. Emotion
2. Content complexity
3. Attempted behavioural control


Behavioural Indicators of Deception
1. Paul Ekman’s emotional

– Deception results in
different emotions: guilt,
fear, excitement (duping
– Strength of emotion
depends on personality of
liar and circumstances of lie
– Emotions may influence the
liar’s NVB
NVB during deception should
show signs of stress
compared to baseline of
typical NVB


Behavioural Indicators of Deception
2. Content complexity:

lying can be
difficult to do
• People engaged in cognitively complex
tasks exhibit different nonverbal


3. Liars may attempt to control their

in order to avoid getting
• When liars do this, they sometimes
overcontrol themselves, resulting in
behaviour that looks rehearsed and
rigid, and speech that sounds too
• Nonverbal behaviour is more difficult
to control than verbal behaviour:


Behavioural Indicators of Deception:
Verbal and Nonverbal Cues to Lying
Meta-analyses by Sporer & Schwandt (2006; 2007)
• Verbal cues:

1. Higher pitch of voice
2. Increased response latency
3. Increased errors in speech
4. Shorter length of description


• Nonverbal Cues:

5. Decreased nodding
6. Decreased foot and leg movements
7. Decreased hand movements

• Liars do not seem to show signs of
nervousness such as gaze aversion &
• Professional lie detectors’ ability to accurately
classify truth and lies is about 55%
• Analyses of nonverbal behaviour are not
accepted as evidence in criminal courts


• Microexpressions:

: A fleeting facial expression
discordant with the expressed emotion and usually
suppressed within 1/5 to 1/25 of a second
• It is difficult to control facial communication and it
can betray a deceiver’s true emotion to a trained
observer (Ekman, 1992)
• Inconsistent emotional leakage occurred in 100% of
participants at least once. Negative emotions were
more difficult to falsify than happiness (Porter & ten Brinke, 2008)


Content Indicators of Deception
Statement Validity Assessment (SVA)

Developed in Germany to determine the credibility of
child witnesses’ testimonies in trials for sexual
• Extended to adults and other types of cases
• SVA accepted in other European courts, but not UK
courts. Opinion in US is divided.
• Has been presented in expert testimony in US, but
main role in guiding police investigations and
decisions of prosecutors


Statement Validity Assessment
• Consists of three major elements:

1. Semi-structured interview
2. Criteria-based content analysis (CBCA) of
transcribed version of statement given during
the interview
3. Evaluation of the CBCA outcome via a set of
questions (validity check-list)


CBCA: The Content Analysis

Based on the “Undeutsch hypothesis”:
–A statement derived from memory of an
actual experience differs in content and
quality from a statement based on
invention and fantasy (Undeutsch, 1987)
• Trained evaluators judge the presence or
absence (or strength) of 19 criteria
• The presence of each criterion strengthens the
hypothesis that the account is based on
genuine experience
• But, absence of a criterion does not
necessarily mean the statement is fabricated
(Vrij, 2005)


CBCA Criteria
• General Characteristics

1. Logical structure
2. Unstructured production
3. Quantity of details


CBCA Criteria Specific Contents

4. Contextual embedding
5. Descriptions of interactions
6. Reproductions of conversation
7. Unexpected complications during the
8. Unusual details
9. Superfluous details
10. Accurately reported details misunderstood
11. Related external associations
12. Accounts of subjective mental state
13. Attribution of perpetrator’s mental state


CBCA Criteria
• Motivation-Related Content

14. Spontaneous corrections
15. Admitting lack of memory
16. Raising doubts about testimony
17. Self-deprecation
18. Pardoning the perpetrator


CBCA Criteria • Offence-Specific Elements

19. Details characteristic of the offence


Why Are These Criteria Absent?

1. Lack of imagination in inventing relevant
2. Do not realise judgements based on these
characteristics, so don’t include them
3. Lack knowledge to incorporate certain
4. Difficult to incorporate some criteria
5. Wary of including details in case they forget
6. Wary of including details that can be checked
7. Wary of including certain characteristics in
case their stories sound less credible
From Vrij (2000)


Validity Check List

Finally, to standardise CBCA findings, evaluators
consider alternative interpretations:
– Psychological characteristics (age, verbal and
social skills)
– Interview characteristics (types of questioning)
– Motivation to report
– Investigative questions (consistency with other


Does SVA Work?

• Vrij (2005) reviewed first 37 experimental and
field studies on CBCA
• Field studies:
• Statements made by persons in actual cases of alleged
sexual abuse
• Clear forensic relevance, but difficult to establish
ground truth
• Experimental studies:
• Statements of participants who lied or told the truth for
the experiment
• Easy to establish veracity of statement, but differ from
real-life situations

• Results depend on methodological factors
• Field studies comparing children’s statements in
“confirmed”, “unconfirmed”, and “doubtful” cases
yield mixed results
• Experimental studies yield fewer differences
between liars and truth-tellers, but all in expected
• Criterion 3 received the most support: in 80%
of studies truth tellers included more details
• Criteria 4 and 6 also received strong support:
in 69% of studies truth tellers included more
contextual embedding and reproductions of

• Cognitive criteria (1-13) received more
support than motivational criteria (14-18)
• In 92% of experimental studies, truth tellers
received higher CBCA scores than liars
• Trained evaluators often achieve above chance
• For experimental studies, Vrij (2005) reported:
– Overall accuracy of 55%-90%
– Accuracy for truths of 53%-91%
– Accuracy for lies of 35%-100%
• Truth bias: CBCA is “truth verifying method”
not “lie-detection technique


Some Concerns About SVA

• No formal decision rules, profiles for truth or
deception, or cut points
• Criteria should be given different weight (Sporer)
• Different types of lies (from subtle to outright) may
yield different levels/kinds of characteristics
• SVA assessments are subjective and inter-rater
reliability can be low, even after extensive training
• CBCA assessments of written statements are time consuming & even training may not improve accuracy
(Akehurst et al., 2004)
• Encourages short-cuts (e.g., SCAN)


Accuracy Rates of Professional Lie

Truth=55% Lie=55%
CBCA 76% 68%
• Chance rate = 50%
• Nonverbal behaviour: Average scores of
9 studies (mostly lab studies)
• CBCA: Based on 13 lab studies
• Recent evidence suggests that higher
accuracy rates by combining nonverbal
and CBCA


A Whole Approach to Detecting Deception

• DePaulo et al. (2003) examined 158(!) cues to
– Are liars less forthcoming?
– Do liars tell less compelling tales?
– Are liars less positive and pleasant?
– Are liars more tense?
– Do lies include less ordinary imperfections
and more unusual details?
• They found evidence for all 5 of these cues in
deceptive statements
• However, many behaviours showed no
discernable links, or only weak links, to
• Also, no clear cut points or profile for lies and


Difficulties in Detection of Deception

1. Lie detection is difficult and there is no
give-away cue
2. Othello Error: Truth tellers may show
similar behaviour to liars because they,
too, may experience emotions, may have
to think hard, or may have to control
3. Adequate comparisons between truthtelling
and lie-telling are not made (e.g.,
small talk vs. interrogation)
4.Observers seem to have incorrect beliefs
about how liars behave and people,
including police officers, are taught wrong
5.Liars can use countermeasures (e.g., can
train themselves to beat techniques).
6.Deception research is often conducted in
university labs and the stakes aren’t high
enough. It’s hard to establish ground truth
in field studies
7. The Brokaw hazard: Individual differences
in emotional expression, vocal and body
movement characteristics.
8. Individual differences in ability to control:
Some people are 'natural liars', or have
trained themselves to be very effective
9. Cultural differences in nonverbal behaviour


Guidelines for Catching a Liar

If focusing on verbal and nonverbal:
1. Be suspicious – put aside your truth bias
2. Probe – keep on asking questions
3. Do not reveal important information
4. Be informed
5. Ask liars to repeat what they have said
6. Watch and listen carefully and abandon
7. Compare liars’ behaviour with their natural