Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 115-126

First online:

Deception Traits in Psychological Interviewing

  • Aldert VrijAffiliated withPsychology Department, University of Portsmouth Email author 
  • , Samantha MannAffiliated withPsychology Department, University of Portsmouth
  • , Sharon LealAffiliated withPsychology Department, University of Portsmouth

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Deception researchers have attempted to improve people’s ability to detect deceit by teaching them which cues to pay attention to. Such training only yields limited success because, we argue, the nonverbal and verbal cues that liars spontaneously display are faint and unreliable. In recent years, the emphasis has radically changed and the current focus is on developing interview techniques that elicit and enhance cues to deception. We give an overview of this innovative research. We also consider to what extent current deception research can be used to fight terrorism. We argue that researchers should pay particular attention to settings that are neglected so far but relevant for terrorism, such as (i) lying about intentions, (ii) examining people when they are secretly observed and (iii) interviewing suspects together. We will commence this paper with general information that puts our reasoning into context. That is, we turn briefly to physiological and neurological lie detection methods that are often discussed in the media, then to the theoretical underpinnings of nonverbal and verbal cues to deceit, and the research methods typically used in nonverbal and verbal lie detection research.


Interviewing Lie detection Deception Terrorism