How Custom Agents Really Detect Lies

Academic Article


  • Research has found discrepancies among folk beliefs about lie detection, deception cue utility, and retrospective accounts of detected lies. Elite customs agents (N = 37) were surveyed regarding their overall beliefs about how to detect lies (general strategy), their opinions about best practices (best strategy), and about a successfully detected lie (actual strategy). Responses were coded in three nonexclusive broad categories: (a) behavioral cues, (b) communication content and evidence, and (c) interactive-questioning approaches. Behavioral cues, especially nonverbal cues, were listed most frequently as general beliefs. Opinions about the best approach were evenly split across the three categories. Communication content and evidence was the most frequently reported actual detection method and was mentioned in 97% of the responses. The results are discussed in relation to Truth-Default Theory and their implications for lie detection practice.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Levine TR; Daiku Y
  • Start Page

  • 84
  • End Page

  • 92
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 1