Eye Movement Mishaps

LP Magazinehas reported on the misconceptions between eye movement and deception detection.  They refer to a seminar by Humintell’s director Dr. Matsumoto at the Certified Forensic Interviewer Elite Training Day last November.

The seminar focused on the difficulty in establishing deception or truth and the flaws most people commit when trying to do so.  After reviewing a number of videos, participants were asked to judge whether the person on the video was  being truthful or deceptive and why they were identifying that person as truthful or deceptive.

No surprise to Dr. Matsumoto, many of the participants delineated eye contact (lack of or too much) as a sign of deception and pointed out that the suspect looked left or right as they were being questioned.

It is particularly difficult to define statements of truth when there is no norm (baseline) to observe, no real threat of punishment if caught lying, or no strong emotion to conceal (high stakes situations). Dr. Matsumoto was quick to note that twenty-three of twenty-four research studies finding’s had no support for eye direction as an indicator of truth or deception.

The article goes on to discuss the role of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Recall vs. Creation in the process of predicting truthful vs. deceptive statements.

It points out that eye movements assist in the recovery of memories and speech and establishes that there is a memory search and additional thought taking place. This additional thought could either be of a creative or recall nature.

However, there is no way to establish whether this is the recovery of a truthful detail or the creation of a deceptive component of the story.

Did you have these same misconceptions?  Do you agree with this article?

3 responses to “Eye Movement Mishaps”

  1. Eric Goulard says:

    I totally share this Dr Matsumoto’s opinion.
    Unfortunatelly, NLP is a deeply rooted in the basics of psychology that people learn in school. Some reforms should be done!
    There are too many books for dummies about NLP and too many trainings for companies.

    With a 2-days training on NLP, some people become the master of their team and the best deception detector in the world.
    As the training on NLP will be a business for thousands of training centers around the world, we will meet wizards who use this technique, as they use morphopsychology, crystal balls and any magical-voodoo things…
    Eric Goulard

  2. Eric – You make excellent points!! People who are successful and accurate in any field but especially in the field of deception detection usually have ample amounts of training and experience.

    Even if a person knows all the key elements to look for in body language, speech, facial expression etc. It takes great practice and constant refreshing of key ideas and concepts to be able to successfully implement that training in real world practical applications.

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