CREST Outputs


Plausibility: A Verbal Cue to Veracity worth Examining?

Truth tellers sound more plausible than lie tellers. Plausibility ratings do not require much time or cognitive resources, but a disadvantage is that it is measured subjectively on Likert scales. The aim of the current paper was to understand if plausibility can be predicted by three other verbal veracity cues that can be measured objectively by counting their frequency of occurrence: details, complications, and verifiable sources. If these objective cues could predict plausibility, observers could be instructed to pay attention to them when judging plausibility, which would make plausibility ratings somewhat more objective. We therefore re-analysed five existing datasets; all of them included plausibility, details and complications and two of them also verifiable sources as dependent variables. Plausibility was positively correlated with all three other tested cues, but mostly predicted by complications and verifiable sources, explaining on average almost 40% of the variance. Plausibility showed larger effect sizes in distinguishing truth tellers from lie tellers than the three other cues, perhaps because the plausibility cue consists of multiple components (complications and verifiable sources). Research has shown that the cues that showed the strongest relationship with veracity typically consisted of multiple components.

(From the journal abstract)

Vrij, A., Deeb, H., Leal, S., Granhag, P.-A., & Fisher, R. P. (2021). Plausibility: A Verbal Cue to Veracity worth Examining? The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 13(2), 47–53.

Authors: Aldert Vrij, Haneen Deeb, Sharon Leal, Pär-Anders Granhag, Ronald P. Fisher
Reading Lies: Nonverbal Communication and Deception

The relationship between nonverbal communication and deception continues to attract much interest, but there are many misconceptions about it. In this review, we present a scientific view on this relationship. We describe theories explaining why liars would behave differently from truth tellers, followed by research on how liars actually behave and individuals’ ability to detect lies. We show that the nonverbal cues to deceit discovered to date are faint and unreliable and that people are mediocre lie catchers when they pay attention to behavior. We also discuss why individuals hold misbeliefs about the relationship between nonverbal behavior and deception—beliefs that appear very hard to debunk. We further discuss the ways in which researchers could improve the state of affairs by examining nonverbal behaviors in different ways and in different settings than they currently do.

(From the journal abstract)

Vrij, A., Hartwig, M., & Granhag, P. A. (2018). Reading lies: Nonverbal communication and deception. Annual Review of Psychology, 70, 297-315. Doi: annurev-psych-010418-103135

Authors: Aldert Vrij, Pär-Anders Granhag
‘Language of lies’: Urgent issues and prospects in verbal lie detection research

Since its introduction into the field of deception detection, the verbal channel has become a rapidly growing area of research. The basic assumption is that liars differ from truth tellers in their verbal behaviour, making it possible to classify them by inspecting their verbal accounts. However, as noted in conferences and in private communication between researchers, the field of verbal lie detection faces several challenges that merit focused attention. The first author therefore proposed a workshop with the mission of promoting solutions for urgent issues in the field. Nine researchers and three practitioners with experience in credibility assessments gathered for 3 days of discussion at Bar-Ilan University (Israel) in the first international verbal lie detection workshop. The primary session of the workshop took place the morning of the first day. In this session, each of the participants had up to 10 min to deliver a brief message, using just one slide. Researchers were asked to answer the question: ‘In your view, what is the most urgent, unsolved question/issue in verbal lie detection?’ Similarly, practitioners were asked: ‘As a practitioner, what question/issue do you wish verbal lie detection research would address?’ The issues raised served as the basis for the discussions that were held throughout the workshop. The current paper first presents the urgent, unsolved issues raised by the workshop group members in the main session, followed by a message to researchers in the field, designed to deliver the insights, decisions, and conclusions resulting from the discussions.

Nahari, G., Ashkenazi, T., Fisher, R. P., Granhag, P. A., Hershkovitz, I., Masip, J., Meijer, E., Nisin, Z., Sarid, N., Taylor, P. J., Verschuere, B., & Vrij, A. (2019). Language of Lies: Urgent issues and prospects in verbal lie detection research. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 24, 1-23.

Authors: Galit Nahrari, Tzachi Ashkenazi, Ronald P. Fisher, Pär-Anders Granhag, Irit Hershkowitz, Jaume Masip, Ewout Meijer, Zvi Nisin, Paul Taylor, Bruno Verschuere, Aldert Vrij

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