Increasing pressure does not benefit lie detection: a reply to Ten Brinke et al. (2015)

Bruno Verschuere, Ewout Meijer, Aldert Vrij

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When passively attending to suspects, observers are poor at distinguishing lies from truths. Deception research has therefore shifted to examining interview styles aimed at eliciting and enhancing deception cues. Based upon a literature review and three empirical studies, ten Brinke, L., Khambatta, P., and Carney, D. R. [2015. Physically scarce (vs. enriched) environments decrease the ability to successfully tell lies. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, 982–992. doi:10.1037/xge0000103] recommend increasing pressure on interviewees as it would increase lie detection accuracy. In this comment, we argue that these authors (1) misinterpret the literature when concluding that lie detection benefits from increasing pressure on interviewees, and (2) their data do not show that lie detection is more accurate when pressure is increased. In absence of such data, we recommend that increasing pressure on interviewees should be avoided: it hampers the elicitation of valuable information and can lead to false confessions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-920
JournalPsychology, Crime & Law
Issue number9
Early online date4 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Stress
  • deception
  • deception detection
  • confession
  • interrogation


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