Successful use of the forced choice test for detecting concealment of semantic memory in criminal and intelligence investigations

Tzachi Ashkenazi, Gil Goldzweig, Aldert Vrij, Sharon Leal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined the validity of the forced choice test (FCT) in a forensic scenario when used to detect concealment of semantic memory (SM-FCT). We also compared the SM-FCT validity to the FCT validity in the more commonly investigated episodic memory scenario (EM-FCT). In simulating a scenario of investigating suspected members of a terror organization, 277 students were asked to deceptively deny being enrolled in a college in which they do actually study. Results indicated that the SM-FCT's validity level was within the range of the EM-FCTs' validity levels. Theoretically, the results support a cognitive-based explanation for the FCT operation mechanism. Practically, they imply that FCT can be used in criminal or intelligence investigations of suspected members of terrorist or criminal organizations or suspected perpetrators of illegal acts or acts of terrorism, in which the incriminating evidence being sought is in the realm of designated semantic memory or knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 21 May 2024


  • Deception detection
  • Concealed knowledge detection
  • Forced Choice Test
  • Semantic memory
  • Terror organization
  • Criminal investigations
  • Intelligence investigations

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