Verbal Veracity Indicators and the Efficacy of Countermeasures in Three Non-WEIRD Populations

Aldert Vrij, Sharon Leal, Haneen Deeb, Ronald P. Fisher

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Practitioners ask whether verbal veracity cues are (i) diagnostic across populations and (i) resistant to countermeasures. We examined this by merging the three datasets reported by Leal et al. (2020, 2022).

Participants from Lebanon (n = 187), Mexico (n = 205) and South-Korea (n = 239) discussed a city-trip they had made (truth tellers, n = 328) or made up a story (lie tellers, n = 303) about such a trip. Some participants (n = 325) were informed about the relation between deception and complications, common knowledge details and self-handicapping strategies (informed participants), whereas others were not (un uninformed participants). The dependent variables were total details, complications, common knowledge details, self-handicapping strategies and plausibility.
All five variables discriminated truth tellers from lie tellers, but particularly complications and plausibility. These cues were diagnostic veracity indicators across different populations and remained diagnostic when we compared informed lie tellers with uninformed truth tellers.

In our discussions with practitioners about verbal veracity cues two questions frequently arise: Are these cues diagnostic across populations? And are they resistant to countermeasures (i.e., can lie tellers who are informed about these cues produce statements that sound like truth tellers’ statements)? These questions refer to a gap in the verbal deception literature: Verbal veracity cues are typically examined with participants belonging to WEIRD cultures, but these participants do not represent the world population; lie tellers prepare themselves for interviews, which may include searching the internet for verbal veracity cues practitioners pay attention to. Vrij and colleagues carried out three countermeasures experiments with non-WEIRD participants from Lebanon, Mexico and South Korea in which they examined five verbal cues (complications, common knowledge details, self-handicapping strategies, total details and plausibility) (Vrij, Leal, et al., 2020; Vrij, Leal et al., 2022). However, they did not report the differences between the three countries, as happened in this article after merging the three data sets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-63
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Psychology & Behavior Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023


  • deception
  • countermeasures
  • non-WEIRD population
  • complications
  • plausibility

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