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