Frequently Asked Questions

Proven questioning, interview and deception-detection techniques that work. And don’t work.

Does looking away when being interviewed indicate someone is lying?

There is no correlation between gaze-aversion and deception. Just because a person looks away does not mean they’re lying. If only it were that simple.

Does body language such as fidgeting, leg-crossing and arm-folding mean someone is lying?

These are simply not reliable deception indicators. Unfortunately, many private and public sector interviewing and communication-training “experts” continue to believe in and train others to look for these cues. The truth is liars and truth-tellers exhibit similar physiological responses when being interviewed, and simple anxiety may amplify these physiological responses.

What about microexpressions?

This is another “hot” topic in truth detection. Microexpressions are facial expressions that occur within a fraction of a second. Many believe this involuntary emotional leakage exposes a person's true emotions. It’s also a myth.

If not non-verbal cues, on what should I focus?

Research, meta-analysis data and practical field experience discourage trusting almost all non-verbal cues as indicators of deception. Instead, focus on vocal cues. Listen for what a person is saying, the amount of—or lack of—details they are sharing and the plausibility of their story.

Are there effective questioning tactics that improve memory retrieval and deliver more accurate memories?

The cognitive interview is an effective way to facilitate a person’s memory recall. When administered properly, it can help guard against implanting false memories and distinguish between truths and lies.

What should I do before I begin an interview?

Even with limited time, preparation and planning increase your chances for a successful outcome. Learning how to differentiate between unverified information (not factual) and verified information (factual) is critical.

What are effective types of questions to ask in an interview?

Open-ended questions yield the most information and give the interviewee a sense of autonomy. Then move to more direct, probing questions. In a session, the interviewer should do 20% of the talking and the interviewee 80%.

Do liars have a strategy going into an interview?

Liars almost always have an information management strategy. They’ve thought through what to disclose and what to withhold, when to disclose information and how to “appear” cooperative. Liars plan and prepare for questions they think the interviewer will ask. Your goal is to defeat the liar’s strategy.

Are there best practices for presenting evidence during an interview?

Whether in the private or public sector, research and science indicate late disclosure of evidence is more effective than early disclosure of evidence. The key is having the right evidence-disclosure strategy, whether it’s physical, documentary or testimonial.

Is there a difference between an interview and an interrogation?

An interview is a memory and communication objective. An interrogation is getting a person to provide information they don’t want to reveal. Rapport-based interviewing is a technique we recommend for either.

If you’re serious about detecting deception in your business, let’s talk.