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Slow lies: An interview with Dr Adam Wang

Dr Adam Wang (James Cook University, Singapore)

Interview with Dr Adam Wang, Part 1.

A new research study by Ziano and Wang (2021) found that, across a variety of scenarios, delays in responding reduce the perceived credibility of the speaker. The paper was widely reported in the media (e.g., Grover, 2021).

Dr Wang kindly agreed to talk to me about the paper and the field of lie detection research. The recording of that interview will be reported in two entries in The Science of Investigative Interviewing Blog.

In the first part Dr Wang discusses the differences between perceived and actual cues to deception (there’s an important difference there) before critically commenting on how lie detection research is discussed in the media. It’s a very interesting perspective and well worth listening to, whatever your level of knowledge of the topic.

Part 1 of the interview can be found below



Grover, N. (2021, February 17). Slow responses more likely to be perceived as lies, study finds. The Guardian. (this is a very good summary of the key points from the study).

Ziano, I., & Wang, D. (2021). Slow lies: Response delays promote perceptions of insincerity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Preprint version available here.

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I wanted to comment on Dr Wang’s blog interview regarding cues to deception. Some of the cues he had mentioned, increased blood pressure, speech tone, micro-expressions etc. would be extremely difficult for a police interviewer to identify these type cues if in fact they were cues to deception. I have observed subjects present similar cues not because they were lying but because the topic being discussed was embarrassing to them. I clearly do not have Dr Wang’s background in deception research nor am I in a position to dispute his findings. I can say that cognitive load effects the interviewer as much as the interviewee. If the interviewer is required to look on the outside to determine what a subject is thinking on the inside, you’re asking too much from the interviewer. Non-verbal behavior is subjective and no two interviewers are going to agree upon what is deception or truth. That said, listening how a subject tells his story and cross referencing subject’s narrative to what has been verified is a much easier requirement that can be accomplish. However, even when inconsistencies between narrative and evidence is identified, it is not 100% accurate, there may be a good explanation for the inconsistency. I believe assessing a subject’s credibility is one of the biggest challenges we face during an interview. Mark

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