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False Confession: $1.3M Awarded

Chicago man awarded $1.3M in false confession case.
June 9, 2010  Chicago Tribune

Donny McGee, who was arrested for the gruesome 2001 murder of his 76-year-old neighbor three days before his wedding, was awarded $1.3 million after a Cook County jury found Tuesday that three members of the Chicago Police Department made up his confession.

This is another good reason all interrogators should consider having a general liability umbrella rider policy.

Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation®

specifically focuses on techniques that are designed to avoid false confession issues.  The program teaches methods to help interrogators insure against such cases and recognize high risk situations.

Stan B. Walters, CSP – “The Lie Guy®”

YouTube: Interrogation Technique Results in False Confession

Detecting Deception: Verbal Cues More Reliable than Non-Verbal

According to Vrij’s research, focusing primarily on body language as a means to spot deception is less reliable than verbal cues.  In fact, detecting deception via body language creates a higher “lie bias” or what we call “pre-conception” about a person’s credibility.

Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation® focuses predominantly on verbal behaviors for credibility assessment and uses body language cues to evaluate emotional response behaviors and to spot “contradiction” signals between voice and body.  Body language cues appear to have a very high error rate in credibility assessment.

…deception research has revealed that many verbal cues are more diagnostic cues to deceit than nonverbal cues. Paying attention to nonverbal cues results in being less accurate in truth/lie discrimination, particularly when only visual nonverbal cues are taken into account. Also, paying attention to visual nonverbal cues leads to a stronger lie bias (i.e., indicating that someone is lying). The author recommends a change in police practice and argues that for lie detection purposes it may be better to listen carefully to what suspects say.

Previous research has shown that suspects in real-life interviews do not display stereotypical signs of nervous behaviours, even though they may be experiencing high detection anxiety. We hypothesised that these suspects may have experienced cognitive load when lying and that this cognitive load reduced their tonic arousal, which suppressed signs of nervousness. We conducted two experiments to test this hypothesis. Tonic electrodermal arousal and blink rate were examined during task-induced (Experiment 1) and deception-induced cognitive load (Experiment 2). Both increased cognitive difficulty and deception resulted in decreased tonic arousal and blinking. This demonstrated for the first time that when lying results in heightened levels of cognitive load, signs of nervousness are decreased. We discuss implications for detecting deception and more wide-ranging phenomena related to emotional behaviour.

Stan B. Walters, CSP “The Lie Guy®”
Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation®

Eye Contact & Detecting Deception

We learn to monitor our eye contact at an early age therefore eye contact is not a reliable sign of deception.

Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation® has taught for years that eye contact is an unreliable cue to deception while many other training courses erroneously teach poor eye contact as a cornerstone to spotting deception.


Eye gaze plays a pivotal role during communication. When interacting deceptively, it is commonly believed that the deceiver will break eye contact and look downward. We examined whether children’s gaze behavior when lying is consistent with this belief. …Younger participants (7- and 9-year-olds) broke eye contact significantly more when lying compared with other conditions. Also, their averted gaze when lying differed significantly from their gaze display in other conditions. In contrast, older participants did not differ in their durations of eye contact or averted gaze across conditions. Participants’ knowledge about eye gaze and deception increased with age. This knowledge significantly predicted their actual gaze behavior when lying. These findings suggest that with increased age, participants became increasingly sophisticated in their use of display rule knowledge to conceal their deception.

Stan B. Walters, CSP “The Lie Guy®”
Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation®

YouTube: Eye Contact and Lying

Claim Fraudsters Think Too Much

Claim fraudsters ‘think too much’

Apparently the mind is a “terrible thing.”  Great research project by the insurance industry conducted at the University of Portsmouth in England. Check out

Sharon Leal’s study at

Liars give themselves away by thinking too hard about their story, a researcher into insurance fraud has said.

Sharon Leal, a research fellow at the University of Portsmouth, has been awarded a £112,000 grant by a leading
insurance fraud investigation firm to examine how people behave when they make fraudulent insurance claims.

Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation® uses a “narrative-based” and non-coercive method which elicits these types of statements making it easier for the interviewer to identify deception as well as issues of concern for the ensuing cross-examination.  Significantly more information is recovered from subjects using this format.

Stan B. Walters, CSP “The Lie Guy®”
Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation®

Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony?

Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony?

Interesting study.  Does showing or giving a witness false information influence them to accuse an innocent person.  Another reason why the use of deception during an interview could severely damage a case and a witness interview.

Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation® methods use a “non-suggestive” format that reduces the risk of contaminating the statements of victims and witnesses as noted in the research posted below.

Applied Cognitive Psychology

Volume 24, Issue 7, pages 899–908, October 2010

Wade, K. A., Green, S. L. and Nash, R. A. (2010), Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony?. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24: 899–908. doi: 10.1002/acp.1607


False information can influence people’s beliefs and memories. But can fabricated evidence induce individuals to accuse another person of doing something they never did? We examined whether exposure to a fabricated video could produce false eyewitness testimony. Subjects completed a gambling task alongside a confederate subject, and later we falsely told subjects that their partner had cheated on the task. Some subjects viewed a digitally manipulated video of their partner cheating; some were told that video evidence of the cheating exists; and others were not told anything about video evidence. Subjects were asked to sign a statement confirming that they witnessed the incident and that their corroboration could be used in disciplinary action against the accused. See-video subjects were three times more likely to sign the statement than Told-video and Control subjects. Fabricated evidence may, indeed, produce false eyewitness testimony; we discuss probable cognitive mechanisms. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Stan B. Walters, CSP “The Lie Guy®”
Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation®

Stress and Deception in Speech: Evaluating Layered Voice Analysis

Stress and Deception in Speech: Evaluating Layered Voice Analysis

Research results posted in Journal of Forensic Sciences, April 2009.   In a study, the Layered Voice Analysis system was tested independently and found to be effective at the chance level.  In other words, the device is accurate only about 50% of the time.

The study results abstract:

This study was designed to evaluate commonly used voice stress analyzers—in this case the layered voice analysis (LVA) system. The research protocol involved the use of a speech database containing materials recorded while highly controlled deception and stress levels were systematically varied. Subjects were 24 each males/females (age range 18–63 years) drawn from a diverse population. All held strong views about some issue; they were required to make intense contradictory statements while believing that they would be heard/seen by peers. The LVA system was then evaluated by means of a double blind study using two types of examiners: a pair of scientists trained and certified by the manufacturer in the proper use of the system and two highly experienced LVA instructors provided by this same firm. The results showed that the “true positive” (or hit) rates for all examiners averaged near chance (42–56%) for all conditions, types of materials (e.g., stress vs. unstressed, truth vs. deception), and examiners (scientists vs. manufacturers). Most importantly, the false positive rate was very high, ranging from 40% to 65%. Sensitivity statistics confirmed that the LVA system operated at about chance levels in the detection of truth, deception, and the presence of high and low vocal stress states.