Catching a deceiver in the act: Processes underlying deception in an interactive interview setting

Sabine Ströfer*, Elze G. Ufkes, Matthijs L. Noordzij, Ellen Giebels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Lying is known to evoke stress and cognitive load. Both form cues to deception and lead to an increase in sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity. But in reality, deceivers stick to the truth most the time and only lie occasionally. The present study therefore examined in an interactive suspect interview setting, whether deceivers still have clearly diverging cognitive and emotional processes from truth tellers when only having the intention to lie incidentally. We found that deceivers who lied constantly diverge from truth tellers in SNS activity, self-reported cognitive load and stress. Across all interviews, SNS activity correlated stronger with self-reports of cognitive load than stress, which supports the cognitive load approach. Furthermore, deceivers who told the truth and lied on only one crucial question, particularly diverged in self-reported stress from truth-tellers. In terms of SNS activity and self-reported cognitive load, no differences were found. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-362
JournalApplied psychophysiology and biofeedback
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2016


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