Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 109-115

First online:

On Lie Detection “Wizards”

  • Charles F. BondJr.Affiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Texas Christian UniversityDepartment of Psychology, Texas Christian University Email author 
  • , Ahmet UysalAffiliated withMiddle Eastern Technical University

M. O’Sullivan and P. Ekman (2004) claim to have discovered 29 wizards of deception detection. The present commentary offers a statistical critique of the evidence for this claim. Analyses reveal that chance can explain results that the authors attribute to wizardry. Thus, by the usual statistical logic of psychological research, O’Sullivan and Ekman's claims about wizardry are gratuitous. Even so, there may be individuals whose wizardry remains to be uncovered. Thus, the commentary outlines forms of evidence that are (and are not) capable of diagnosing lie detection wizardry.


deception detection