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Detecting deception in suspects: Verbal cues as a function of interview strategy

Journal article
Authors Maria Hartwig
Pär-Anders Granhag
Leif Strömwall
Ann Wolf
Emma Roos Af Hjelmsäter
Published in Psychology, Crime & Law
Volume 17
Issue 7
Pages 643-656
ISSN 1068-316X
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 643-656
Language en
Keywords deception, interviewing to detect deception, verbal cues, interviewing strategies
Subject categories Social Sciences


Research on deception has consistently shown that people are poor at detecting deception during interviews. Research on innocent and guilty suspects’ strategies and strategic use of evidence during interviews has shown that innocent suspects volunteer more information and provide even potentially incriminating details. This experiment examined verbal differences between innocent and guilty mock suspects (N = 96) as a function of veracity and interview style (Free recall, Probes, or Free recall plus Probes). Innocent (vs. guilty) suspects provided more crime-relevant information, and their statements were less likely to contradict the evidence, showing that statement-evidence inconsistency was a cue to deception. This cue to deception was more pronounced when the interview contained probes. Lie-catchers (N = 192) obtained an accuracy rate higher than chance (61.5%) for detecting deceptive denials. Implications for further research on verbal cues to deception are discussed.

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