Police Officers’ Ability to Detect Lies Within a Deception Paradigm

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Abstract

This study aimed to examine police officers’ accuracy in classifying guilty and innocent participants using 3 interviewing styles (evidence-focused, relationship-focused, and control). In a modified version of Russano, Meissner, Narchet, and Kassin’s (2005) deception paradigm, participants who had violated a rule (i.e., cheating while solving problems) were considered guilty, whereas those who had followed the rule were considered innocent. After interviewing 234 adult men, 11 experienced male police officers accurately classified over 90% of them as guilty or innocent. Of 160 participants who did not admit to cheating, 140 (87.5%) were correctly classified. There was no statistically significant relationship between interviewing style and police officers’ identifications of guilty deniers (i.e., liars) and innocent deniers (truth tellers). However, interviewers were more likely to believe guilty deniers in the evidence-focused condition, and they tended to believe innocent deniers in the relationship-focused condition. These findings suggest that the ability to detect deception might be influenced by interviewing style.

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