Research


We study how social factors and cognitive processes can affect children’s and adults’ deception, and its detection. Currently, we are exploring deception and its detection in vulnerable populations.

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Current Projects

Language proficiency

We are examining how speaking in a non-native language affects individuals’ abilities to deceive and observers’ abilities to detect that deception. This project will involve:

  1. Examining the verbal and nonverbal cues to non-native speakers’ deception. Specific questions include: Are cues to deception affected by speakers’ language proficiency? Do the actual cues to deception match observers’ beliefs? Is deceiving in a non-native language more cognitively challenging?
  2. Testing laypersons’ and law enforcement officials’ abilities to detect non-native speakers’ deception. Specific questions include: Are observers better able to discriminate between lie- and truth-tellers who are speaking in their native vs. non-native languages? How does performance vary according to a deceiver’s proficiency in the non-native language? Does expertise affect discrimination?
  3. Exploring laypersons’ and law enforcement officials’ biases about non-native speakers. Specific questions include: Are observers more likely to label non-native speakers?

Misattributions of arousal

We are studying how applications of classical misattribution research can be applied to the study of deception detection. We are exploring how lie-tellers’ attributions about the source of their arousal affect deception and its detection by:

  1. Examining targets physiological arousal. Specific questions include: Under what conditions can targets attribute arousal to external stimuli? How do attributions affect targets’ levels of comfort and arousal? How do attributions affect targets’ emotionality and cognitive load during an interview?
  2. Testing laypersons’ abilities to detect targets’ deception. Specific questions include: Are observers better able to discriminate between lie- and truth-tellers who are able vs. unable to attribute their arousal to external stimuli? How does performance vary according to targets’ self-reported arousal? Are cues to deception affected by attributions?
  3. Exploring laypersons’ biases about targets. Specific questions include: Are observers more likely to label targets who make successful attributions truth-tellers? How do observers perceive targets who believe they should feel aroused, relaxed, or uncertain?

Other projects

Recent projects have focused on the reliability of lie detection performance and special populations (e.g., police officers, customs officers, individuals with psychopathic traits, children), and face-veiling. We are always interested in exploring new ways to improve deception detection.


Our research is currently funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.