‘Drawing to conclusion’: the effect of sketching recall methods to enhance information‐gathering and cues to deceit

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Previous research indicated that drawing is a strategic tool in investigations. However, little research has been conducted to determine how to introduce a sketch instruction into an investigative interview. The current experiment compared sketching and speaking separately (sketch-speak and speak-sketch conditions) with sketching and speaking synchronously to determine which recall method gathered the most information and elicited the most cues to deceit. Participants (N = 180) watched a video, half were asked to tell the truth (to a friendly agent), whereas the other half were asked to lie (to a corrupt agent) about the video in an interview. Participants were asked either to (i) sketch then speak, (ii) speak then sketch, or (iii) speak and sketch synchronously. Verbal statements and sketches were coded for total details, number of people, number of self-handicapping strategies and plausibility. The camera perspective of sketches was also examined. Truth tellers' sketches and verbal statements were rated as more plausible than those of lie tellers. This difference was found in all three recall methods with the largest effect emerging in the speaking and sketching synchronously condition. Truth tellers included more details than lie tellers in their verbal statements but not in their sketches. Conversely, truth tellers included more people than lie tellers in their sketches but not in their verbal responses. No veracity differences emerged in sketches nor verbal statements for self-handicapping strategies. However, participants in the speaking and sketching synchronously recall method included more sketch self-handicapping strategies than those in the other recall conditions. Additionally, participants in the speak and sketch synchronously method reported more verbal details than those who spoke and then sketched. Effects were not large enough between speaking in isolation of sketching and also sketching and speaking synchronously to determine which recall method is best to detect deceit. However, sketching and speaking synchronously emerged as the most beneficial method for information-gathering.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Early online date6 Jul 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 6 Jul 2023


  • cues to deceit
  • information-gathering
  • investigative interviewing
  • lie detection
  • recall method
  • sketching
  • UKRI
  • ESRC
  • ES/P000673/1

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