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Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 469–480 | Cite as

“He's guilty!”: Investigator Bias in Judgments of Truth and Deception

  • Christian A. Meissner
  • Saul M. Kassin
Article

Abstract

Detecting deception is an inherently difficult task, but one that plays a critical role for law enforcement investigators in the interrogation room. In general, research has failed to indicate that performance in this domain is improved by training or prior experience. A signal detection framework is applied to the paradigm to better conceptualize the influence of these two factors. We found that although neither factor influenced discrimination accuracy, there was an effect on response bias such that training and prior experience appeared to increase the likelihood of responding “deceit” as opposed to “truth.” This “investigator bias” was observed both in a review of the literature and in this study of North American law enforcement investigators who took part in a forensically based deception-detection task. Possible theoretical mechanisms and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

deception interrogation response bias 

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Copyright information

© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychology Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian A. Meissner
    • 1
  • Saul M. Kassin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFlorida International UniversityMiami
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWilliams CollegeWilliamstown

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