A cognitive approach to lie detection: a meta-analysis

Aldert Vrij, Ronald P. Fisher, Hartmut Blank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction: This article provides a meta-analysis of a new, cognitive approach to (non-)verbal lie detection. This cognitive lie detection approach consists of three techniques: (1) imposing cognitive load, (2) encouraging interviewees to say more, and (3) asking unexpected questions.

Method: A meta-analysis was carried out on studies using the cognitive approach, 14 of which directly compared the cognitive approach to a standard approach.

Results: The cognitive lie detection approach produced superior accuracy results in truth detection (67%), lie detection (67%), and total detection (truth and lie detection combined, 71%) compared to a traditional standard approach (truth detection: 57%; lie detection: 47%; total detection: 56%).

Conclusions: Practitioners may find it useful to use a cognitive lie detection approach in their daily practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalLegal and Criminological Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date10 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2017


  • lie detection
  • meta-analysis
  • cognition
  • interviewing to detect deception


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