Detecting deception in suspects: verbal cues as a function of interview strategy

M. Hartwig, P. Granhag, L. Stomwall, A. Wolf, Aldert Vrij, E. Roos af Hjelmsater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on deception has consistently shown that people are poor at detecting deception, partly due to lack of consistent cues to deception. This research focuses on eliciting verbal cues to deception when questioning suspects who deny crime and how such cues differ due to type of questioning. An experiment examined verbal differences between innocent and guilty mock suspects (N=96) as a function of veracity and interview style (Free recall, Probes, or Free recall plus Probes). Guilty (vs innocent) suspects omitted more crime-relevant information and their statements were more likely to contradict the evidence, showing that statement–evidence inconsistency was a cue to deception. This cue to deception was more pronounced when the interview contained probes. Lie-catchers (N=192) obtained an accuracy rate higher than chance (61.5%) for detecting deceptive denials. Implications for further research on verbal cues to deception are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-656
JournalPsychology, Crime & Law
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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