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'Language of lies': Urgent issues and prospects in verbal lie detection research

Journal article
Authors G. Nahari
T. Ashkenazi
R. P. Fisher
Pär-Anders Granhag
I. Hershkowitz
J. Masip
E. H. Meijer
Z. Nisin
N. Sarid
P. J. Taylor
B. Verschuere
A. Vrij
Published in Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 1-23
ISSN 1355-3259
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 1-23
Language en
Keywords verbal lie detection, detection deception, verbal cues, Criteria-based Content Analysis, reality, model statement, elicit information, truth-tellers, cues, deceit, liars, questions, deception, benefit, detail
Subject categories Criminology, Psychology


Since its introduction into the field of deception detection, the verbal channel has become a rapidly growing area of research. The basic assumption is that liars differ from truth tellers in their verbal behaviour, making it possible to classify them by inspecting their verbal accounts. However, as noted in conferences and in private communication between researchers, the field of verbal lie detection faces several challenges that merit focused attention. The first author therefore proposed a workshop with the mission of promoting solutions for urgent issues in the field. Nine researchers and three practitioners with experience in credibility assessments gathered for 3 days of discussion at Bar-Ilan University (Israel) in the first international verbal lie detection workshop. The primary session of the workshop took place the morning of the first day. In this session, each of the participants had up to 10 min to deliver a brief message, using just one slide. Researchers were asked to answer the question: 'In your view, what is the most urgent, unsolved question/issue in verbal lie detection?' Similarly, practitioners were asked: 'As a practitioner, what question/issue do you wish verbal lie detection research would address?' The issues raised served as the basis for the discussions that were held throughout the workshop. The current paper first presents the urgent, unsolved issues raised by the workshop group members in the main session, followed by a message to researchers in the field, designed to deliver the insights, decisions, and conclusions resulting from the discussions.

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