PSYCH 3CC3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Lie Detection, Cognitive Load
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Detecting Deception: Handbook
-How Good at Detecting Deception?
oEkman & O’Sullivan (1991)
P’s correctly or incorrectly report positive feelings while watching pleasurable or gruesome
Truth judged by Secret Service, FBI, judges, police, psychiatrists, university students, adults
taking one-day course on deceit.
Videos previously found to contain nonverbal cues to lying: Masking smiles and higher pitch
Judges asked to rate both general lie-detection ability, and their performance in the task.
Only U.S. Secret Service agents judge better than chance, and than all other groups (64%
Accuracy uncorrelated with ratings of general ability or task performance (except for deceit
Several earlier studies found no evidence that ‘experts’ better at lie detection than
Forensic relevance unclear: Most forensic lies not about currently felt emotion.
oEkman, O’Sullivan & Frank (1999)
P’s make true or false statements about their opinions on videotape.
U.S. law enforcement officials and psychologists judge honesty while viewing videotapes.
Overall accuracy ranges from 51% (mixed law enforcement officers) to 73% (federal
Lie accuracy ranges from 48% (mixed law enforcement officers) to 80% (federal officers)
Truth accuracy ranges from 54% (mixed law enforcement officers) to 66% (federal officers)
oWhelan, Wagstaff & Wheatcroft (2015)
Used 36 videos of relatives asking for information about missing or dead relatives.
Half of speakers criminally involved in case (liars), half not (truth tellers).
Firearms officers in UK (n=37)
CID officers in UK (n=33)
Undergraduate students (n=37)
Note: Only undergraduate students show the truth bias typically reported in the literature.
Liars Truth-Tellers Combined
Firearms officers 76% 68% 72%
CID officers 77% 68% 72%
Undergraduates 62% 73% 68%
Combined 71% 70% 71%