Problems in expert deception detection and the risk of false confessions: no proof to the contrary in Levine et al. (2014)

Aldert Vrij, Christian A. Meissner, Saul M. Kassin

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Abstract

Lie detection research has shown that observers who rely on nonverbal cues or on verbal cues correctly classify on average 54% of truth tellers and liars. In addition, over the years, countless numbers of innocent people have made false confessions and, in analysing the problem, researchers have implicated both a suspect's vulnerability and the persuasive influence of certain police interrogation tactics. Levine et al. (2014) aim to contribute to these vast bodies of literature by reporting two studies purportedly showing that expert interviewers - when they are permitted to question interviewees - can achieve almost perfect accuracy without eliciting false confessions. We argue that theoretical and methodological aspects of these studies undermine the reliability and validity of the data reported, that as a result the studies do not contribute to the scientific literatures on lie detection and false confessions in any meaningful way, and that the results are dangerously misleading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalPsychology, Crime & Law
Early online date26 May 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • WNU

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