The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 19 No. 2 • February 2016

How to Detect Lies With a Storytelling Technique

A hypothesis put forth by Andy Morgan, a forensic psychologist at Yale University who specializes in human memory and deception, purports to show that one can detect lies from analyzing stories subjects wrote about experiences they’d had. Morgan calls this “cognitive interviewing” and believes that the physical signs that are usually considered possible indications of lying such as blood pressure and respiration changes, alterations in skin such as sweating only achieves an accuracy of about 50% or, as he puts it, like flipping a coin.

What Morgan and his colleagues found, in interviewing 1200 people, was that stories describing the physical/sensory events in their experiences became much harder to put together when they were coming from liars. Morgan produced transcripts of each interview and showed that in nearly 85% of cases, “the transcripts that contained fewer unique words and fewer words overall related to the stories told by liars.” Morgan believes that this is because having to make stuff up reduces the richness of what is being said and the complexity of the language used to describe it.

This was reported in Criminal (podcast) episode 2—“Pants on Fire,” 14 February 2014

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