Detecting Deception

Together with my colleague Saul Kassin, our research in this area has examined the effects of training to detect deception, the role of "investigator biases," and the ability of individuals to distinguish between (a) true and false denials in the context of an interrogation, (b) true and false confessions offered by actual offenders, and most recently (c) true and false alibis provided following a "mock crime".  In general, this research has indicated that training to detect deception leads individuals to be more suspicious and thereby creates a bias towards deceit.  Investigators tested with our stimuli consistently demonstrate a similar "investigator bias" -- however, this bias appears directed at presuming "guilt" in the context of an investigative interview.  Furthermore, neither trained investigators nor naive student participants are able to reliably distinguish truth and deception in the context of forensic interviews.  In our studies, we have also introduced and advocated the use of Signal Detection parameters that might distinguish performance in terms of discrimination accuracy and response bias, rather than examining "overall accuracy" rates across manipulations.  Selected publications are provided below.  

Kassin, S. M., Meissner, C. A., & Norwick, R. J. (2005). Id know a false confession if I saw one: A comparative study of college students and police investigators. Law & Human Behavior, 29, 211-228.

Meissner, C. A., & Kassin, S. M. (2002). Hes guilty!: Investigator bias in judgments of truth and deception. Law & Human Behavior, 26, 469-480.

Meissner, C. A., & Kassin, S. M. (2004). Youre guilty, so just confess! Cognitive and behavioral confirmation biases in the interrogation room. In D. Lassiters (Ed.), Interrogations, confessions, and entrapment (pp. 85-106). Kluwer Academic /Plenum Press.

Click here to access article reprints.


Investigative Interviewing Research Laboratory
Eyewitness Memory  *  Detecting Deception  *  Interrogations & Confessions

Experimental Stimuli