INTERVIEWING

Behavior Analysis: Some researchers report that there are no behavioral characteristics that can be used as reliable indicators to differentiate between truthful and deceptive subjects.

Response: When evaluating a subject's behavior during an interview there are two primary considerations. The first is the level of motivation the innocent subject experiences in an effort to be exonerated or that the guilty subject experiences in an effort to escape negative consequences. Each and every study that reports no significant behavioral differences between truthful or deceptive subjects has utilized a laboratory study design.

That is, subjects were randomly assigned to either a truthful or deceptive role in the experiment. Over years of similar experience and findings with the polygraph technique the profession has learned that results found in the laboratory cannot be generalized to the field. Unfortunately, it is not ethically possible to duplicate the motivational incentives of real life subjects in a laboratory environment.

The second important consideration in evaluating such research is the manner in which the behavior was collected. Some studies evaluate subject's behavior when discussing an opinion issue, e.g., their feelings. We specifically teach that opinions are not a suitable issue for "lie-detection" because they are not fixed in time -- the issue under investigation should concern a disputed physical act such as doing or saying something. Other studies have focussed solely on investigative questions, e.g., "Did you do it?"; "Were you present when it happened?". None of these studies incorporate behavior provoking questions which have been found to elicit the most meaningful behavior during field interviews. Furthermore, an actual field interview lasts 30 to 40 minutes. In laboratory studies the length of questioning can be as short as one minute.

Specific information about the interviewing technique practiced by Reid and Associates is widely available to university researchers and we have identified key principles of behavior symptom analysis. Yet, those involved in laboratory research make no effort to even remotely duplicate the process we use or to apply the principles we teach. This is indeed unfortunate because behavior symptom analysis represents a critical aspect of any investigation and there are many important issues that could be legitimately studied if the proper methodology was selected.