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

Face-veiling

We are studying an issue that has generated controversy in the justice systems around the world – face-veiling. We are exploring how witnesses’ veiling practices (i.e., wearing a niqab vs. hijab vs. no veil) affect deception and its detection by:

  1. Examining witnesses’ perspectives on veiling. Specific questions include: Under what conditions would witnesses unveil in court? How does veiling affect their comfort while testifying? Do witnesses believe that their credibility is undermined or helped by veiling?
  2. Testing layperson’ abilities to detect veiled witnesses’ deception. Specific questions include: Are observers better able to discriminate between lie- and truth-tellers whose faces are obscured vs. bared? How does performance vary according to deceivers’ comfort baring their faces? Are cues to deception affected by veiling?
  3. Exploring laypersons’ biases about veiled witnesses. Specific questions include: Are observers more likely to label veil-wearers as lie-tellers? What attributions do observers make about veiled witnesses?

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?

Other projects

Recent projects have focused on the reliability of lie detection performance, special populations (e.g., police officers, customs officers, individuals with psychopathic traits), and cognitive processes (e.g., misattributions of arousal). 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.

The Leach Lab is part of the Forensic Psychology program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.