The Relationship between Complications, Common Knowledge Details and Self-handicapping Strategies and Veracity: A Meta-analysis

Practitioners frequently inform us that variable ‘total details’ is not suitable for lie detection purposes in real life interviews. Practitioners cannot count the number of details in real time and the threshold of details required to classify someone as a truth teller or a lie teller is unknown. The authors started to address these issues by examining three new verbal veracity cues: complications, common knowledge details, and self-handicapping strategies. We present a meta-analysis regarding these three variables and compared the results with ‘total details’. Truth tellers reported more details (d = 0.28 to d = 0.45) and more complications (d = 0.51 to d = 0.62) and fewer common knowledge details (d = -0.40 to d = -0.46) and self-handicapping strategies (d = -0.37 to d = -0.50) than lie tellers. Complications was the best diagnostic veracity cue. The findings were similar for the initial free recall and the second recall in which only new information was examined. Four moderators (scenario, motivation, modality, and interview technique) did not affect the results. As a conclusion, complications in particular appear to be a good veracity indicator but more research is required. We included suggestions for such research.

Vrij, A., Palena, N., Leal, S., & Caso, L. (2021). The relationship between complications, common knowledge details and self-handicapping strategies and veracity: A meta-analysis. European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 13 (2), 55-77

Authors: Aldert Vrij, Sharon Leal, Nicola Palena, Letizia Caso

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