11 May 2011

Study reveals how cops spot liars

by Kate Melville

The ability to effectively detect deception is a cornerstone of successful law enforcement, and now, the investigative interviewing techniques used by detectives and intelligence officers are available to everyone thanks to a new paper in the American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry .

The paper's author, UCLA professor of psychology R. Edward Geiselman, has been studying deception detection for years and has taught investigative interviewing techniques to detectives, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Marines, the Los Angeles police and sheriff's departments, and numerous international agencies.

His paper analyzes 60 past studies on detecting deception and also includes original research on the subject. The more reliable red flags that indicate deceit, Geiselman says, are:

Among the techniques Geiselman teaches to enable detectives to trip-up liars:

Detecting deception is difficult, Geiselman said, but training programs can be effective. "People can learn to perform better at detecting deception," Geiselman said. "However, police departments usually do not provide more than a day of training for their detectives, if that, and the available research shows that you can't improve much in just a day." Interestingly, he adds that with abbreviated training, "we often make them worse. Quick, inadequate training sessions lead people to over-analyze and to do worse than if they go with their gut reactions."

Geiselman is currently developing a training program that he hopes will effectively compress the learning curve and thus will serve to replicate years of experience.

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Source: University of California - Los Angeles