This paper aims to systematically compare the textbook‐based criminal justice and psychological literatures on detecting deception in field settings to determine the accuracy of the criminal justice literature in this area.
A total of 18 criminal justice textbooks covering detecting deception were systematically reviewed and coded. The alleged indicators of deception were then compared with the psychological literature on the valid indicators of deception.
Many criminal justice textbooks on interviewing, interrogation, and criminal investigation claim that there are numerous accurate indicators of deception which can be readily used in field settings. The comparison of these claims with the research in psychology indicates that a great deal of the information found in criminal justice textbooks is erroneous. Further review indicates that in controlled studies criminal justice practitioners rarely detect deception at levels greater than chance or comparison groups of non‐practitioners. It is exceedingly difficult to detect deception in field settings without the help of technology or complicated instruments or aids.
Much of the information in criminal justice textbooks on detecting deception is erroneous and may have negatively affected practitioners to the extent that they are unable to detect deception effectively. Textbooks on interviewing, interrogation, and criminal investigation should be circumspect regarding an individual's ability to detect deception in field settings. Texts should refrain from presenting deception detection as a simple and accurate science. Practitioners should be cautious when attempting to detect deception in field settings.
The criminal justice and psychological literatures on detecting deception have not been synthesized before. This information will be useful to criminal justice practitioners who seek to detect deception.
King, W. and Dunn, T. (2010), "Detecting deception in field settings: A review and critique of the criminal justice and psychological literatures", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 305-320. https://doi.org/10.1108/13639511011044902Download as .RIS
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