Through MindHacks I just read an interesting article in The Times regarding new research that shows how, in police interrogations, asking the interviewee to tell their story in reverse can help detect a lie – or more accurately, in detecting the stress patterns of a liar under ‘cognitive load’.
It’s an interesting idea and – quite frankly – is obvious once the theory has been pointed out to you. However, as some of those who have commented on the original Times article point out, the issue of false positives could be a serious problem if this technique is relied upon exclusively. It won’t be, of course, as even now police interviews are only a small part of an investigation, so without any evidence you’re not going to be going anywhere near a courtroom just because ‘they thought you were lying’!
I personally think it’s a great idea when (intelligent) psychologists are employed to come up with novel ways to detect this type of behaviour and we need to see more people in power talking to experts in other fields too. These experts are infinitely more qualified to come up with ideas like this (in their own field) than politicians or ‘classically trained’ police officers. It could bring an end to the so-called movie-plot threats that people are warned of on a seemingly daily basis.