Observers’ performance at evaluating truthfulness when provided with Comparable Truth or Small Talk Baselines

Letizia Caso, Nicola Palena, Aldert Vrij, Augusto Gnisci

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Abstract

Research has shown that the Comparable Truth Baseline Technique outperforms the Small Talk with respect to the elicitation of cues to deception. However, their impact on observers’ accuracy has not been evaluated yet. In this experiment, participants (N = 74) watched ten interviews where senders either lied or told the truth about a set of tasks. Half of the interviews were conducted with a Comparable Truth Baseline, the other half with a Small Talk Baseline. As predicted, results showed that observers in the Comparable Truth Baseline condition outperformed the participants in the Small Talk Baseline condition in terms of total accuracy rates. The paper sheds light on the impact of the two baseline techniques in distinguishing truth tellers from liars and discourages the use of a small talk baseline. It also provides insights for future studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Early online date6 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 6 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • baseline technique
  • comparable truth
  • deception detection
  • interviewing techniques
  • observers' accuracy
  • small talk
  • veracity assessment

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