Lay persons’ and police officers’ beliefs regarding deceptive behaviour

Lucy Akehurst, G. Kohnken, Aldert Vrij, Ray Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on the detection of deception, via non-verbal cues, has shown that people's ability to successfully discriminate between truth and deception is only slightly better than chance level. One of the reasons for these disappointing findings possibly lies in people's inappropriate beliefs regarding ‘lying behaviour’. A 64-item questionnaire originally used in Germany, which targets participants' beliefs regarding truthful and deceptive behaviour, was used. The present study differed from previous research in three ways: (i) instead of a student population, police officers and lay people were sampled, (ii) both people's beliefs regarding others' deceptive behaviour and their beliefs regarding their own deceptive behaviour were examined, and (iii) both non-verbal cues to, and content characteristics of, deceptive statements were examined. Results were consistent with previous studies, which found significant differences between people's beliefs regarding deceptive behaviour and experimental observations of actual deceptive behaviour. Further, police officers held as many false beliefs as did lay people and finally, participants were more accurate in their beliefs regarding their own deceptive behaviour than they were in their beliefs regarding others' behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1996


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