Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 253–265 | Cite as

Increasing Cognitive Load to Facilitate Lie Detection: The Benefit of Recalling an Event in Reverse Order

  • Aldert Vrij
  • Samantha A. Mann
  • Ronald P. Fisher
  • Sharon Leal
  • Rebecca Milne
  • Ray Bull
Original Article


In two experiments, we tested the hypotheses that (a) the difference between liars and truth tellers will be greater when interviewees report their stories in reverse order than in chronological order, and (b) instructing interviewees to recall their stories in reverse order will facilitate detecting deception. In Experiment 1, 80 mock suspects told the truth or lied about a staged event and did or did not report their stories in reverse order. The reverse order interviews contained many more cues to deceit than the control interviews. In Experiment 2, 55 police officers watched a selection of the videotaped interviews of Experiment 1 and made veracity judgements. Requesting suspects to convey their stories in reverse order improved police observers’ ability to detect deception and did not result in a response bias.


Verbal and nonverbal cues to deception Lie detection Cognitive load 



This project was sponsored by a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (RES-000-23-0292).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aldert Vrij
    • 1
  • Samantha A. Mann
    • 1
  • Ronald P. Fisher
    • 2
  • Sharon Leal
    • 1
  • Rebecca Milne
    • 1
  • Ray Bull
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of PortsmouthPortsmouthUK
  2. 2.Florida International University North MiamiUSA
  3. 3.University of Leicester LeicesterUK

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