New Magazine for research on security threats

CREST Security Review Magazine Issue 1 Cover

Launch of CREST Security Review

This month CREST launches CREST Security Review, a quarterly magazine which provides a gateway to the very best knowledge and expertise on understanding, mitigating and countering security threats. Its articles translate academic jargon to ‘so what’ answers and illustrate how behavioural and social science can be used effectively in everyday scenarios.

Since its launch, CREST has established a growing international network of over 80 researchers, commissioned research in priority areas, and begun to tackle some of the field’s most pressing questions. CSR communicates research from CREST’s work and from other leading research centres and academics around the globe.

“The behavioural and social sciences are increasingly making important contributions to our understanding of, and capacity to deal with, security threats. Yet, all that effort is irrelevant if practitioners, policy-makers, and other stakeholders do not get to hear about it. CREST Security Review is one way we will keep stakeholders informed not only on what CREST is doing, but also on the best research from around the world.” Professor Paul Taylor, CREST Director

Each issue includes articles on a particular focus. Our first issue addresses information elicitation. This includes not only interrogation and interviewing, but any context where people are encouraged to provide information.

In security interviewing contexts, it’s particularly important that this information is truthful and credible. Evidence-based techniques for detecting deception – from the polygraph to better questioning strategies – are discussed in an article from CREST researcher Aldert Vrij and his colleague Ronald Fisher, who reviewed the effectiveness of many of these techniques in real-world applications.

Another article highlights the power of simple friendly questions in information elicitation, showcasing a technique mastered by Hanns Scharff, one of the most successful Second World War interrogators. Scharff was a pioneer of the concept of kind and friendly interviews – where those being interrogated often were unaware of just how much helpful data they were disclosing. Simon Oleszkiewicz explains the psychology behind what made the Scharff technique so effective.

In her article on human memory, CREST researcher Lorraine Hope points out that our memory is not like a hard drive where memories are stored and retrieved systematically. Instead, it’s a fragile web of information and impressions that can be accessed, shaped, and altered by the way we ask questions.

Not all information elicitation is for good. People often unknowingly give up personal information online to scammers and other cyber-criminals. Emma Williams and CREST researcher Adam Joinson look at why we are so trusting when online, and highlight some of the techniques used to elicit information from us over the internet.

Beyond our articles on information elicitation this issue of CSR also reveals how our smart watches will soon know us better than ourselves, and summarises the differences and similarities between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims.

You can read and download the magazine for free at

As with our other resources, CSR is available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence. For more information on how you can use our content please read our copyright page.