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Evaluation of the research on detecting deception and how this relates to practice

  • 08 Pages
  • Published On: 09-12-2023

Evaluation of the research on detecting deception and how this relates to practice

Introduction

A post by the UK Parliament in 2011 post lays down the scientific basis for deception detection technology and the potential implications of its use. It mentions the use of deception detection technologies, including the standard polygraphy technique to newer techniques that could do facial imaging or brain activity (Houses of Parliament, 2011). The post in its conclusion states that deception detection technology must meet the ethical criteria in order to be used effectively. This indicates that the techniques in used have challenges. For example, polygraphs are claimed to give more accurate results when used in specific crime or they could be influenced by the subjects that simulate their anxiety. Even newer technology such the novel brain imaging techniques have not shown reliable usefulness due to the barriers posed by the complexity of the human brain (Houses of Parliament, 2011).

This briefing note will attempt to inform the intended group of senior police managers about current status of detecting deception techniques. It will identify and assess some core techniques in order to determine whether or not they are sufficient to meet the challenges imposed by various form of deception in modern times. The overall objective is to provide an analytical findings for the group of police managers in the form of recommendation in the techniques they use.

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Evaluation of the research on detecting deception and how this relates to practice

Lie is an attempt by a person to lead another to a belief that the person considers untrue (Vrij, 2008). A lie can be a white lie, intentional/harmful lie, and lie of commission or omission (Docan-Morgan, 2019). To detect a lie or truth, the strategies involved may involve from keeping fewer strategies with regard to truth teller to more strategies with regard to liars. The reason is that nonverbal behaviour in relation to both did not distinguished them, for example both of them did not make excess movements. However, liars are significantly more nervous and the liar as detection of liars demands more strenuous tasks than truth tellers. The verbal content strategy suggested is to keep the story simple for liars and real for the truth tellers (Strömwall, et al., 2006).

It is pertinent, however, to assess whether or not innovative measures in place can be use in the criminal justice system, including investigative interviews. The standard older techniques comprise ‘arousal based’ lie detection tools that measures anxiety or arousal, for example Behaviour Analysis Interview focusing on standardized question that brings discomfort and nervous behaviours in liars and Comparison Question [polygraph] Test (CQT) that brings strong reaction amongst truth tellers when posed comparison questions and strong reaction amongst lairs when posed with relevant questions (Vrij & Fisher, 2016). These older techniques are not found sufficiently robust, generalisable, and with controversial to be incorporated in investigative interviews. For example, they do not protect the truth telling interviewees and not provide sufficiently protection against countermeasures. They are not easy to use and is found not appropriate by scientific community (Vrij & Fisher, 2016).

There are new cognition-based lie detection tools focusing on cognitive load, encouraging interviewees to speak more, unexpected questions, Concealed Information polygraph Test, CIT, or Strategic Use of Evidence and Verifiability Approach. Cognitive-Based Lie Detection Tools include imposing cognitive load that focuses on the claim that lying in an interview setting is more mentally taxing than telling the truth (Vrij & Fisher, 2016). Liars have more depletion of their mental resources and hence, will be less able than the truth tellers to cope with additional requests or questions (Debey, et al., 2012). It includes asking unexpected questions that unsettle the liars who are expecting anticipated questions making it difficult for them to answer unlike truth tellers who answer with similar ease to both expected and unexpected questions (Lancaster, et al., 2012). It also includes Strategic Use of Evidence (SUE) ask questions related to the evidence without making the interviewee aware that they possess this evidence, these different behaviours used by truth tellers and liars result in truthful suspects’ accounts being more consistent with the available evidence than deceptive suspects’ accounts (Hartwig, Granhag, & Luke, 2014). It includes CIT polygraph test used when examinees deny knowledge of a specific crime where a liar will recognise the correct answer and the test will bring out a physiological orienting response unlike a truth teller that will not show an orienting response (Ben-Shakhar & Elaad, 2002).

The new innovative measures were found to be generally accepted in the appropriate scientific community and are easy to be incorporated in a typical information-gathering interview. They are found to sufficiently protect the truth telling interviewees from appearing suspicious and protect against countermeasures. However, there is no uniform answer in certain aspects of the techniques. The imposition of cognitive load is found to affect response of a truthful interviewee. The technique of asking unexpected questions may possible affect such response. Encouraging interviewees or strategic use of evidence to speak more may also affect such response (Vrij & Fisher, 2016). Overall, the techniques, both old and new, show substantial difference in regard to whether they could meet to criteria to be used in criminal justice system (Vrij & Fisher, 2016).

Effectiveness of verbal and non-verbal cues

Studies show that police and police manual promote and practice the use of cues while detecting deception. Such cues could be inter-personal cues, such as speech, sound, behaviour, or story cues (Mann, et al., 2004). The cue can be broadly categorised as non-verbal and verbal cues to deceit. The studies show that paying attention to cues as promoted in police actually hampers the policy’s ability to detect truths and lies. This is found in many manners where police office trained in detecting lies have their preferences in related to delivering accuracy. For some good lie detectors, it is the speech-related cues rather than poor lie detectors as they believe that the intellectual ability of suspects is often rather low to tell a lie. Some lie detectors rely on transcripts only, which is focusing on story cues and they are found better than those who are exposed to speech, sound, and behaviour cues (Mann, et al., 2004). The non-uniform method of detecting lie is a proof that the techniques of using cue do not guarantee accuracy.

This part of the note is focussed on the popular use of gaze as a cue in detecting deception. Studies have found gaze as the most frequently mentioned cue with the claim that liars tend to look away and fidget; they are gaze aversion and display unnatural posture changes or self-manipulations; or they place the hand over the mouth or eyes when they speak. The finding is not new and the studies show that majority of the police officers back this claim that gaze is a useful technique to detect deceit (Mann, et al., 2004; Akehurst, et al., 1996). It has been, however, found that such cues have a negative corelation with deception, demonstrating that the more the police officers refer to these cue, the lower is the accuracy rates of detecting lies (Mann, et al., 2004). It is also found that officers trained in detecting lies using gaze as a cue performed worst that naive observers (Kassin & Fong, 1999). This signifies that a sense of intuitive thinking is required in detecting deception. Further, it is also found that the availability of adequate thinking also increases the accuracy rate of detecting. When task with deception detection upon prison inmates and college students, the former showed more accuracy level as they have pronounced lie bias, which may find the reason in the outcome feedback provided in the environment of criminals. Such outcome feedback approach could be used to train professional lie-catchers (Hartwig, et al., 83-95).

The reason for the continued used of gaze as a cue may be found in the ‘overconfidence effect’ where the confidence of the lie detectors is typically higher than the accuracy of lie detection. This is relevant with the theory that observers have higher levels of confidence when they judge truthful statements than when they judge deceptive statements (DePaulo, et al., 1997). Researchers found that lie detectors have a mistaken assumption that liars are more anxious or nervous than truth tellers. This belief system of the lie detectors drives their reliance on cues especially gaze aversion, movements, nervousness, and sweating. Such cues fit their mistaken belief regarding the diagnosticity of nonverbal cues. They do not show much inclination, therefore, towards overestimate the corelation between verbal cues and deception (Bogaard, et al., 2016).

In contrast to non-verbal cues, verbal and para‐verbal behaviours may be related to deception. Lie detectors believe that liars are less coherent than true-tellers and produce more ‘uhs’ and pauses. They are less consistent and less plausible but direct. They provide fewer details and shorter stories. They make fewer self‐references. They provide more negative statements and irrelevant information (Global Deception Research Team , 2006; Strömwall & Granhag, 2003). Such pattern is observed when implementing the strategic intervention of collective interviewing where pairs of suspects are interviewed together. In such technique, truth tellers tend to interrupt and corrected each other unlike the liars (Vernham, et al., 2014). They add more information to each other's stories. The truth tellers tend to ‘tell it all’ whereas liars’ ‘keep it simple (Vrij, et al., 2012). The truth-tellers are significantly more able to continue the story from one another. The lying pairs are significantly more likely to repeat each other before continuing and they wait for their turns to speak (Vernham, et al., 2014).

Some researchers have also found that for both non‐verbal and verbal behaviours, the belief of people regarding cues simply are not realistic (Strömwall, et al., 2004). An important finding is that reliable cues to deception are used in high stakes contexts including serious crimes. As such, accuracy rate was higher than in use of stereotypical cues found in low stake situation. This finds the basis for literature findings about use of incorrect stereotypical beliefs about cues in low stakes situations (Wright & Wheatcroft, 2017). The inconsistency in the belief system and the use of cues can conclude that people are relying on invalid cues.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Deception detection techniques and tools are not meeting the criteria to be used in criminal justice system. There is either shortcoming in ethical consideration or impracticability in terms of their accuracy rates. Not one technique is not sufficient. Not all techniques give uniform results or are ready to use collaboratively. The belief system in the deception detection has been driving the techniques, instead of the other way round. Both the arousal based’ lie detection tools and the new cognition-based lie detection tools, thus, have the shortcomings that make them incapable to be used in the criminal system.

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The first step to improve in the detection system is for a renewed research, which is not inspired or influenced by older research. For example, there should be further research elaborating on specific crime and specific technique with comprehensive focus on all relevant factors, For example, the proposed study should be a study on Technique A in related to Crime A considering age of the liars and their social, economic and education background of the lairs and their locality. This will involve a sociological and psychological reasoning to the type of crime, criminal activities, and the conditioning behind their lying.

The second step is to upgrade the detection training and manuals incorporating the findings from the research. For example, the existing police manuals must specify particular areas when non-verbal cues could be relied upon. Majorly relying on cues, such as gaze are harmful and therefore, their usefulness must be discussed during the training. Such cues must be diagnosed without the personal assumption of lie detectors regarding liars. Manuals must list prescribed cues and their strict relationship with group accuracy in regard to the type of crime.

A higher level of recognition must be extended to intuition, emotion and impressions. Detector that relied heavily on cues performed worse than normal participants, who were more intuitive. As is seen, each cue has certain benefit in regard to specific situation. They have some useful information. Thus, a comprehensive framework coded with situation, specific case and techniques, which is more of process oriented, could enabled correct used of cues and other methods.

Bibliography

Houses of Parliament, 2011.

https://www.parliament.uk/globalassets/documents/post/postpn375Detecting_deception.pdf. [Online] Available at

https://www.parliament.uk/globalassets/documents/post/postpn375Detecting_deception.pdf [Accessed 12 04 2021].

Mann, S., Vrij, A. & Bull, R., 2004. Detecting True Lies: Police Officers’ Ability to Detect Suspects’ Lies. Detecting True Lies: Police Officers’ Ability to Detect Suspects’ Lies, 89(1), p. 137–149.

Akehurst, L., Ko¨hnken, G., Vrij, A. & Bull, R., 1996. Lay persons’ and police officers’ beliefs regarding deceptive behaviour. Applied Cognitive Psychology,, Volume 10, p. 461–471.

Kassin, S. M. & Fong, C. T., 1999. “I’m innocent!”: Effects of training on judgments of truth and deception in the interrogation room. Law and Human Behavior, Volume 23, p. 499–516. DePaulo, B. M. et al., 1997. The accuracy-confidence correlation in the detection of deception. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 1(4), p. 346–357.

Strömwall, L. & Granhag, P. A., 2003. How to detect deception? Arresting the beliefs of police officers, prosecutors and judges. Psychology, Crime and Law , 9(1), pp. 19-36.

Vrij, B., 2008. Beliefs about nonverbal and verbal cues to deception. In: Detecting lies and deceit.. s.l.:John Wiley & Sons, p. 115–40.

Taylor, R. & RF, H., 2007. Believed cues to deception: Judgments in self-generated trivial and serious situations. Legal and Criminological Psychology., Volume 12, p. 321–31..

Bogaard, G., Meijer, E. H., Vrij, A. & Merckelbach, H., 2016. Strong, but wrong: Lay people’s and police officers’ beliefs about verbal and nonverbal cues to deception. PloS one, 11(6), p. e0156615.

Wright, C. & Wheatcroft, J. M., 2017. Police officers' beliefs about, and use of, cues to deception. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling , 14(3), pp. 307-319.

Global Deception Research Team , 2006. A world of lies. Journal of cross-cultural psychology, 37(1), pp. 60-74.

Strömwall, L. & Granhag, P. A., 2003. How to detect deception? Arresting the beliefs of police officers, prosecutors and judges.. Psychology, Crime and Law, 9(1), pp. 9.1 (): 19-36.

Strömwall, L., PA, G. & M, H., 2004. Practicioners' beliefs about deception. In: P. A. Granhag & L. A. Strömwall, eds. eds. The detection of deception in forensic contexts. s.l.:Cambridge University Press.

Docan-Morgan, T., 2019. The Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication. s.l.:Springer International Publishing.

Strömwall, L. A., Hartwig, M. & Granhag, P. A., 2006. To act truthfully: Nonverbal behaviour and strategies during a police interrogation. Psychology, Crime & Law , 12(1), pp. 207-219.

Debey, E., Verschuere, B. & Crombez, G., 2012. Lying and executive control: An experimental investigation using ego depletion and goal neglect. Acta Psychologica, Volume 140, pp. 133-141.

Lancaster, G. L. J., Vrij, A., Hope, L. & Waller, B., 2012. Sorting the liars from the truth tellers: The benefits of asking unanticipated questions. Applied Cognitive Psychology, Volume 27, pp. 107-114.

Vrij, A. & Fisher, R. P., 2016. Which lie detection tools are ready for use in the criminal justice system?. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 5(3), pp. 302-307. Ben-Shakhar, G. & Elaad, E., 2002. The Guilty Knowledge Test (GKT) as an application of psychophysiology: Future prospects and obstacles. Handbook of polygraph testing, pp. 87-102.

Vrij, A. et al., 2012. Collective interviewing of suspects. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1(1), pp. 41-44.

Vernham, Z. et al., 2014. Collective interviewing: Eliciting cues to deceit using a turn-taking approach. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law , Volume 20, p. 309.

Hartwig, M., Granhag, P. A., Strömwall, L. A. & Andersson, L. O., 83-95. SUSPICIOUS MINDS: CRIMINALS'ABILITY TO DETECT DECEPTION. Psychology, Crime and Law , Volume 1, pp. 83-95.

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