Suspects, Lies, and Videotape: An Analysis of Authentic High-Stake Liars

Abstract

This study is one of the very few, and the most extensive to date, which has examined deceptive behavior in a real-life, high-stakes setting. The behavior of 16 suspects in their police interviews has been analyzed. Clips of video footage have been selected where other sources (reliable witness statements and forensic evidence) provide evidence that the suspect lied or told the truth. Truthful and deceptive behaviors were compared. The suspects blinked less frequently and made longer pauses during deceptive clips than during truthful clips. Eye contact was maintained equally for deceptive and truthful clips. These findings negate the popular belief amongst both laypersons and professional lie detectors (such as the police) that liars behave nervously by fidgeting and avoiding eye contact. However, large individual differences were present.

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Mann, S., Vrij, A. & Bull, R. Suspects, Lies, and Videotape: An Analysis of Authentic High-Stake Liars. Law Hum Behav 26, 365–376 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015332606792

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  • deceptive behavior
  • real-life high-stake lies
  • suspect interviews