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Law Hum Behav. 2002 Oct;26(5):469-80.

"He's guilty!": investigator bias in judgments of truth and deception.

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Department of Psychology, Florida International University, University Park, Miami, Florida 33199, USA.


Detecting deception is an inherently difficult task, but one that plays a critical role for law enforcement investigators in the interrogation room. In general, research has failed to indicate that performance in this domain is improved by training or prior experience. A signal detection framework is applied to the paradigm to better conceptualize the influence of these two factors. We found that although neither factor influenced discrimination accuracy, there was an effect on response bias such that training and prior experience appeared to increase the likelihood of responding "deceit" as opposed to "truth." This "investigator bias" was observed both in a review of the literature and in this study of North American law enforcement investigators who took part in a forensically based deception-detection task. Possible theoretical mechanisms and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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