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Police Officers', Social Workers', Teachers' and the General Public Beliefs About Deception in Children, Adolescents and Adults

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume: 11 Issue: 2 Dated: September 2006 Pages: 297-312
Aldert Vrij; Lucy Akehurst; Sarah Knight
Date Published
September 2006
16 pages
This study surveyed and examined the beliefs of different occupational groups and members of the general public about cues to deception in young children, adolescents, and adults and explanations as why cues to deceit occurred.
In examining the underlying processes (emotions, cognitive load, and attempted verbal and behavioral control), the results revealed a developmental trend. Participants thought it was least likely that young children would attempt to control their speech and behavior and most likely that adults would do so. No age differences emerged regarding experiencing emotions or cognitive load during deceit. In regards to cues to deceit, the results indicate that, overall, participants expected liars to respond nervously with looking away and making grooming gestures being popular answers. This was also found in previous surveys. Overall, participants overstated liars’ responses and associated considerable more cues with deceit than seemed to be justified. With limitations, the survey showed that police officers, social workers, teachers, and members of the general public associated many more cues with deception in young children, adolescents, and adults than seemed justified on the basis of deception literature. Also, the four different groups held similar beliefs about cues to deception, implying that if members of one group become suspicious on the basis of their unjustified beliefs, then they are unlikely to be challenged by members of another group. Several, somewhat different theoretical perspectives have been offered to explain why cues to deception might occur. In this study, 206 participants completed a “cues to deception” and “processes underlying deception” questionnaire for young children, adolescents, and adults to see whether participants held different beliefs about cues to deception for different age groups. Tables, references