Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 244–256 | Cite as

The Impact of Beliefs Concerning Deception on Perceptions of Nonverbal Behavior: Implications for Neuro-Linguistic Programming-Based Lie Detection

  • Flavia SpiroiuEmail author


Regularly employed in a forensic context, the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) model purports that the behavioral distinction between somebody who is remembering information and somebody who is constructing information lies in the direction of their eye movements. This strategy reflects numerous current approaches to lie detection, which presume that nonverbal behavior influences perceptions and judgments about deception. The present study emphasized a reverse order by investigating whether beliefs that an individual is deceptive influence perceptions of the respective individual’s nonverbal behavior as indicated by observed eye movement patterns. Sixty participants were randomly assigned to either a group informed that right eye movements indicate constructed and thus deceptive information or a group informed that left eye movements indicate constructed and thus deceptive information. Each participant viewed six investigative interviews depicting the eye movement patterns of mock suspects labeled as deceptive or truthful. The interviews were structured according to different right/left eye movement ratios. Results revealed that participants reportedly observed the deceptive suspects displaying significantly more eye movements in the direction allegedly indicative of deception than did the truthful suspects. This result occurred despite the fact that the actual eye movement ratios in both deceptive/truthful sets of interviews were identical and the eye movements were predominantly in the opposite direction of that allegedly indicative of deception. The results are discussed in the context of encoding-based cognitive-processing theories. Limitations on the generality of the results are emphasized and the applicability (or lack thereof) of NLP-based lie detection in forensic contexts is discussed.


Beliefs Perception Deception detection Neuro-Linguistic Programming Eye movements 


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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada

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