Improve Your Lie Detection Techniques

By Dustin Shaw

How to detect a lie is not always easy, but with improved interrogation techniques, the process becomes easy and the results will be reliable.

The behavior of liars from those who tell the truth is almost the same; the difference between their behaviors is not easy to spot. In addition, there are those extroverts, especially those with excellent social skills, who have a built in confidence even when they tell lies. They can even beat polygraph test questions.

The common pitfall in lie detectors is the overemphasis on nonverbal cues. Any successful lie detection must always include the intrapersonal variations in a person's behavior. A lie detector must know how the subject acts when he or she is telling the truth versus when he or she is lying. A baseline behavior, or the behavior of a perso


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n when he or she has no reason to lie, must always be established first. Being over-confident in ones own lie-detection skills will also not help.

Anders Granhag of the University of Gothenburg, Aldert Vrij of the University of Portsmouth, and Stephen Porter of the University of British Columbia suggested that verbal lie detection methods can be more reliable than nonverbal ones.

During an interrogation, certain interview styles will work more than others. Open-ended questions can extract more truthful details. They also make it easy to check for inconsistencies. For example, in an interview with a crime suspect, a skilled interrogator might ask: What did you do yesterday between 7 pm and 10 pm? Open-ended questions will make the suspect talk more. Moreover, a perfectly timed specific question that a suspect is not likely to anticipate will help to detect deception.

Another important interrogation technique that must be exploited by law enforcement is to ask suspects to narrate events in reverse order. If the details were made up, it is very difficult or close to impossible to narrate them in reverse order because there was no memory of them ever occurring in the first place.

Recently, there are more fool-proof techniques which are deemed to be court-admissible. One example is the fMRI which uses brain-scan technologies; the results are up to 97% reliable. Certain areas of the brain light up when people lie, and these areas can be seen in MRIs.

It is helpful to understand how the process of lying and its biometric patterns work. That knowledge can be handy not just in workplace or domestic situations but also in the day to day life.