Executing Facial Control During Deception Situations

Abstract

Behavioral countermeasures are the strategies engaged by liars to deliberately control face or body behavior to fool lie catchers. To date research has not shown whether deceivers can suppress elements of their facial expression as a behavioral countermeasure. This study examined whether participants could suppress facial actions such as eyebrow movements or smiles on command when under scrutiny by a lie catcher. The results derived from micro momentary coding revealed that facial actions can be reduced, but not eliminated, and that instructions to suppress one element of the expression resulted in reduction in all facial movement, regardless of veracity. The resulting implications for security contexts are discussed.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For example, the Transportation Security Administration’s Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, as described in a Time Magazine article entitled: A New Tack for Airport Screening: Behave Yourself By Sally B. Donnelly, published on Wednesday, May, 17, 2006, describes a government program to analyze behaviors in public spaces reputedly associated with hostile intent.

  2. 2.

    One truth teller admitted “yes”, to removing the movie tickets from the envelope, but also responded “yes” to the follow up question, “Did you put them back?” No liars admitted to taking the movie tickets from the envelope.

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Correspondence to Carolyn M. Hurley.

Additional information

This work was submitted in partial fulfillment of a Master’s of Arts degree at the University at Buffalo by the first author. Elements of this work were also funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research Award N00014-06-1-0600 to Mark G. Frank. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Naval Research, TSA, DHS, or the United States. Finally, we would like to thank and dedicate this article to the late Raymond Lochocki, who served as the interrogator on this project.

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Hurley, C.M., Frank, M.G. Executing Facial Control During Deception Situations. J Nonverbal Behav 35, 119–131 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-010-0102-1

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Keywords

  • Behavior suppression
  • Control
  • Countermeasures
  • Deception
  • Facial expressions