A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Detecting deception

START researchers publish primer for studying extremist interviews

To address the challenge of collecting reliable empirical data from interviews with terrorists and other extremists, a START research team published a synthesis of recent research across various disciplines regarding the identification of deception during interviews.

The primer offers terrorism researchers an overview of deception detection best practices citing literature from psychology, criminology and terrorism studies. The overview summarizes research on nonverbal cues, verbal cues and possible follow-up responses after detecting such cues. It also discusses recommended tools and techniques to detect deception in an interview setting.

The authors  START Special Projects Interns Rachel Gamson, Jessica Gottesman, Nicholas Milan and Sitara Weerasuriya  note that while verbal cues are independently more reliable, the observation of both types of cues increases the ability of the interviewer to assess deception, particularly when the cues are compared with an established baseline unique to each individual.

To read the overview, visit /start/publications/cuestocatchingdeception.pdf.