How Do You Know Someone is Lying

What exceptional criminal interviewers and researchers in psychotherapy are sharing with us.

     The humorous answer: “their lips are moving”. As we all know, it’s a little more difficult 

than that.

     A study called the “Wizard Project” was conducted by researchers in psychotherapy testing 13,000 judges, psychologist and law enforcement officers in the United States. Participant’s ability to detect general deception, criminal deception and emotional deception were tested. The study revealed that only 29 participants could detect all forms of deception over 80% of the time. Of those 29, four were law enforcement officers, all four of whom were considered exceptional criminal investigators and interviewers. They included a Texas Ranger, two Federal ATF Special Agents and a sex crimes investigator.

     Psychotherapist interviewing the 29 participants changed the way we look at detecting deception. These individuals evaluated truthfulness and did not focus on the detection of deception.

     The four law enforcement officers focused on engaging interviewee’s in conversation. When the veracity of the interviewee’s statement became an issue, deliberate questioning strategies are initiated to verify truthfulness or expose the deception. The goal of these questioning strategies: to stimulate cognitive processing. In other words, these questions cause the interviewee to think about what is true and requires a deliberate intent to deceive. This deliberate intent to deceive triggers an emotional reaction resulting in a cluster of cues indicative of deception.

     Managing the interview process, evaluating truthfulness, detecting deception, and encouraging cooperation depends on proficiency in specific advanced nonverbal, Social (SQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills.

     Accurately detecting deception requires identifying clusters of cues involving any combination of verbal terminology, micro-expressions, micro-gestures, timing of body movement, and changes in paralanguage.

     A training video of a young lady participating in a study has been provided to demonstrate how to accurately detect clusters of deceptive cues. The interview instructor in the video is retired Special Agent Mary Daugherty, ATF, and is one of the four interviewers capable of detecting all forms of deception almost 100% of the time.

     Special Agent Daugherty has been instructing Analytic Interviewing and Cognitive Interviewing since 1993. She is considered one of the leading criminal interviewers and interviewing instructors, training thousands of Federal, state and local law enforcement officers in the U.S. and Internationally.

Analytic Interviewing