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Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Helping to sort the liars from the truth-tellers
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Helping to sort the liars from the truth-tellers: the gradual revelation of information during investigative interviews

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2014
JournalLegal and Criminological Psychology
Early online date20/04/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Research examining detection of verbal deception reveals that lay observers generally perform at chance. Yet, in the criminal justice system, laypersons that have not undergone specialist investigative training are frequently called upon to make veracity judgements (e.g., solicitors; magistrates; juries). We sought to improve performance by manipulating the timing of information revelation during investigative interviews. A total of 151 participants played an interactive computer game as either a truth-teller or a deceiver, and were interviewed afterwards. Game information known to the interviewer was revealed either early, at the end of the interview, or gradually throughout. Subsequently, 30 laypersons individually viewed a random selection of interviews (five deceivers and five truth-tellers from each condition), and made veracity and confidence judgements. Veracity judgements were most accurate in the gradual condition, p < .001, η2 = .97 (above chance), and observers were more confident in those judgements, p < .001, η2 = .99. Deceptive interviewees reported the gradual interviews to be the most cognitively demanding, p < .001; η2 = .24. Our findings suggest that the detection of verbal deception by non-expert observers can be enhanced by employing interview techniques that maximize deceivers' cognitive load, while allowing truth-tellers the opportunity to respond to evidence incrementally.