How researchers can make verbal lie detection more attractive for practitioners

Aldert Vrij, Ronald P. Fisher, Sharon Leal

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Over the last thirty years deception researchers have changed their attention from observing nonverbal behaviour to analysing speech content. However, many practitioners we speak to are reluctant to make the change from nonverbal to verbal lie detection. In this article we present what practitioners believe is problematic about verbal lie detection: The interview style typically used is not suited for verbal lie detection; the most diagnostic verbal cue to deceit (total details) is not suited for lie detection purposes; practitioners are looking for signs of deception but verbal deception researchers are mainly examining cues that indicate truthfulness; cut-off points (decision rules to decide when someone is lying) do not exist; different verbal indicators are required for different types of lie; and verbal veracity indicators may be culturally defined. We discuss how researchers could address these problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-396
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number3
Early online date22 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • UKRI
  • ESRC
  • ES/N009614/1
  • cross-cultural deception
  • cues of truthfulness
  • cues to deceit
  • cues to deceit cross-cultural deception
  • cues to truthfulness
  • cut-off points
  • verbal baselining
  • verbal lie dection
  • verbal lie detection cut-off points


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