The Detection of Deception: The Effects of First and Second Language on Lie Detection Ability

Broadhurst, Roderic G. & Cheng, Keens Hiu Wan (2005) The Detection of Deception: The Effects of First and Second Language on Lie Detection Ability. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 12(1), pp. 107-118.


An experiment was designed to test behavioural differnces in the detection of deception arising from investigative interviews conducted in either a first or second language. A two (Cantonese or English) by two (deception or truthfulness) between-subject factorial design was used. Twenty-six postgraduate criminology student observers provide judgments of lying in 20 video-taped interviews of undergaduate subjects randomly assigned to either telling the truth or lying about their opinions on capital punishment. Obervers did less well in identifying liars in their first language but were more successful in identfying liars speaking in a second languate. However, observers made more mistakes with those telling the truth in a second language. The degree that deceivers deployed countermeasures also varied with second language users reporting less ability to control verbal and non-verbal behavioural cues. Deceivers, irrespective of language, found lying required more cognitive resources than telling the truth and lying in a second languate tends to alter one's facial expression or emotion. Behaviour associated with deception is discussed in the context of bilingual 'code switching' that appears to lessen cognitive load while lying and may be a potential marker of deception. Disbelieving-the-truth mistakes, or 'false positives' are as troublesome as false negatives and require attention in the context of cross-cultural interrogations.

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ID Code: 3766
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Verbal and non, verbal behaviour, deception study, Language and cognitive resources, communication, lying detection
ISSN: 1321–8719
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Australian Academic Press
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 18 May 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:31

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