Two recent studies continue the thorny debate about how to increase proficiency in detecting deception in either civil or criminal litigation contexts.
Peace and Sinclair (2012), psychologists in Canada, speculated and confirmed that when judging “emotional reports”, participants made significantly more errors (false alarms) than when judging non-emotional reports. This has implication for detecting deceit in forensic and personal injury context, where decision makers are continually challenged with determining the veracity of emotionally laden reports.
Da Silva and Leach (2011 examined whether language proficiency had an impact on lie detection, by collecting video footage of 30 people who spoke English as their first or second language, and lied or told the truth about transgression. Participants were more confident when judging native language truth-tellers than second language truth-tellers. They were also more likely to exhibit a lie-bias, when interviewing second language speakers.
To interview and detect truth or lies at a level of proficiency greater than chance requires an experienced expert who can be aware of the many aspects affecting deception detection. ‘Chance is a fine thing’ but must be exceeded.
Peace K.A & Sinclair S.M (2011) Cold-blooded lie catchers. Legal and Criminal Psychology. 17,1,177-191.
Da Silva C.S & Leach A (2011) Detecting Deception in second language speakers. Legal and Criminal Psychologist. 18,1,115-120.