Chance, Keith D. "Detecting Deception." SIU Awareness. September,
1997. pp. 6-10.
Abstract: One of the most important aspects of an investigation
is the information gathered from interviews. Good interviewing results in
pieces of information that help complete the puzzle. It is crucial that
the interviewer remains alert at all times and really listens to the subject's
This article explains how an interviewer can identify subjects who are
not telling the truth. The first key clue that a subject is lying or hiding
something is a non-responsive answer. It is human nature to tell the truth
when asked to remember an incident. A non-responsive answer provides the
interviewee time to think and sort information, and moves the focus away
from the issue at hand. An example of a non-responsive answer is, "why
is that important?" This type of answer requires a response from the
interviewer and buys the interviewee time.
The other common indicator that a person is lying is a massaged answer.
This is when the interviewer twists the facts to work in his or her favor
or adds irrelevant details. A defense to this tactic is to ask about the
irrelevant details. If the interviewee says he was at the movies, ask him
what film he saw and details about the movie.
Some deceptive interviewers have planned their answers thoughtfully.
A response to this tactic is to ask the subject to recall the series of
events from end to beginning. This order of events is more difficult to
remember if it is not true. Another method to detect rehearsed responses
is to ask the subject to recall the whole day from beginning to end. The
rehearsed story probably does not include the moments before and after the
crime. Discrepancies and inconsistencies will most likely appear after questions
about the details of the interviewee's day.
Another important technique to remember when interviewing is to ask open-ended
questions. This forces the subject to respond in his or her own words and
does not hint to the interviewee what the interviewer is anticipating. Specific
questions can be asked later to establish any inconsistencies.