The Science of Lie Detection by Verbal Cues: What Are the Prospects for Its Practical Applicability?

There is agreement among researchers that no simple verbal cues to deception detectable by humans have been demonstrated.

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This paper examines the evidence for the most prominent current methods, critically considers the prevailing research strategy, proposes a taxonomy of lie detection methods and concludes that two common types of approach are unlikely to succeed. An approach to lie detection is advocated that derives both from psychological science and common sense: When an interviewee produces a statement that contradicts either a previous statement by the same person or other information the authorities have, it will in many cases be obvious to interviewer and interviewee that at least one of the statements is a lie and at the very least the credibility of the witness is reduced. The literature on Strategic Use of Evidence shows that features of interviews that foster such revelatory and self-trapping situations have been established to be a free account and the introduction of independent information late and gradually into the proceedings, and tactics based on these characteristics constitute the best current general advice for practitioners. If any other approach 1 day challenges this status quo, it is likely to be highly efficient automated systems.

Frontiers in Psychology, 2022,


Published May 23, 2022 6:00 AM