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Department of Psychology Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive methods for the detection of lies and deceptions

How can one recognise lies or liars? Everyone has certainly asked themselves this question at some time, and the vast majority know a few signs that can be used to unmask liars - at least that is what the majority believe. Decades of empirical research, however, show that without technical aids, people are only just above guessing probability.

The cognitive approach assumes that lying places additional demands on the cognitive system.  This leads to increased signs of cognitive load in liars, which can be used to detect them. This project will further research a reaction time based test (the RT-CIT) that can be used to detect knowledge. People who hide their knowledge can be detected based on their reaction times.

This project is funded by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) and the Zurich State Police (Kantonspolizei Zürich).

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