Concealed information under stress: A test of the orienting theory in real-life police interrogations

B. Verschuere, E. Meijer, A. De Clercq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

Abstract

Purpose. The concealed information test (CIT) is a polygraph test that assesses recognition of critical (e. g., crime) information. Laboratory studies showing stronger heart rate deceleration to concealed compared to control information indicate that the orienting response (OR) accounts for responding in the CIT. An important restriction to these findings is that laboratory circumstances impose little or no stress on the examinees, and that under real-life stress defensive responding may occur. Method. To examine the validity of the CIT under realistic stress, we analysed the data from 65 card tests conducted during real-life police polygraph interrogations. Results. Baseline heart rate was higher than that observed in the laboratory, confirming that the situation was stress inducing. As in the laboratory, the concealed cards elicited greater heart rate deceleration compared to the control cards. Conclusions. The data support the OR theory of the CIT under real-life stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-356
Number of pages9
JournalLegal and Criminological Psychology
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

Keywords

  • ACCURACY
  • BLINK MODULATION
  • FEAR
  • GUILTY KNOWLEDGE TEST
  • PATTERNS
  • POLYGRAPH TEST
  • RESPONSES
  • STIMULI
  • VALIDITY

Cite this