Deception and lie detection in the courtroom: the effect of defendants wearing medical face masks

Aldert Vrij, Maria Hartwig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, defendants and witnesses (as well as the prosecution and defense counsel) may wear medical face masks to prevent the spread of the virus. Alternatively, courtrooms proceedings may take place virtually. In this article we discuss how these deviations from normal procedures may affect jurors’ lie detection ability and decision-making. Although research addressing this specific question does not exist, we are able to formulate an informed view based on the extensive deception literature. Since nonverbal signs to deception in the face and body are virtually absent, we conclude that medical face mask-wearing or virtual courtroom proceedings will not hamper jurors’ lie detection abilities. If jurors can hear the speech well, they may become better at detecting deception if they will pay more attention to speech content, which may occur as a result of mask-wearing in the courtroom.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Early online date24 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 24 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • deception
  • lie detection
  • nonverbal behaviour
  • COVID-19
  • signal detection theory
  • jury decision making

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Deception and lie detection in the courtroom: the effect of defendants wearing medical face masks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this