Detecting True Lies: Police Officers’ Ability to Detect Suspects’ Lies
We recently came across this interesting article “Detecting True Lies: Police Officers’ Ability to Detect Suspects’ Lies” which was written by Samantha Mann, Aldert Vrij and Ray Bull of the University of Portsmouth Psychology Department.
Vrij, a professor of applied social psychology, has written over 350 articles and book chapters mainly on the topics of nonverbal and verbal cues to deception and lie detection.
The article, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2004 investigated ninety-nine police officers and their ability to detect lies.
The study was unique in that it tested officers’ ability detect lies in a realistic setting during real police interviews with suspects, rather than in a laboratory where participants are brought in and instructed to lie.
Unlike other previous studies, Mann and her team found that the police officer’s “accuracy rates were higher than typically found in deception research and reached levels similar to those obtained by specialized lie detectors in previous research”.
In addition, their accuracy rates were “positively correlated with perceived experience in interviewing suspects and with mentioning cues to detecting deceit that relate to a suspect’s story”. In addition, as with many other studies, accuracy rates were negatively correlated with nonverbal cues such as gaze aversion and fidgeting.