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JARMAC-182; No. of Pages 9

ARTICLE IN PRESS
Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition xxx (2015) xxx–xxx

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Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jarmac

Original article

ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors
Chris NH Street ∗
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T1Z4

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 5 December 2014
Received in revised form 10 June 2015
Accepted 12 June 2015
Available online xxx
Keywords:
Deception detection
Truth bias
Adaptive lie detector
Uncertainty
Adaptive decision making
Truth-default theory

a b s t r a c t
People make for poor lie detectors. They have accuracy rates comparable to a coin toss, and come with
a set of systematic biases that sway the judgment. This pessimistic view stands in contrast to research
showing that people make informed decisions that adapt to the context they operate in. The current
article proposes a new theoretical direction for lie detection research. I argue that lie detectors make
informed, adaptive judgments in a low-diagnostic world. This Adaptive Lie Detector (ALIED) account is
outlined by drawing on supporting evidence from across various psychological literatures. The account
is contrasted with longstanding and more recent accounts of the judgment process, which propose that
people fall back on default ways of thinking. Limitations of the account are considered, and future research
directions are outlined.
© 2015 Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights
reserved.

People have little idea of when they are being lied to, with accuracy rates only marginally above chance (Bond & DePaulo, 2006;).
They seem to have the wrong beliefs about what cues give away
liars (The Global Deception Research Team, 2006), and even with
training there is only a modest increase in accuracy (Frank & Feeley,
2003; Hauch, Sporer, Michael, & Meissner, 2014). What is more,
there is a robust bias to take what others say at face value and
believe it is the truth, dubbed the “truth bias” (Bond & DePaulo,
2006; McCornack & Parks, 1986), which some have taken as evidence that people are gullible (Buller & Burgoon, 1996; O’Sullivan,
2003) and not in control of this bias (Gilbert, 1991). This pessimistic
view has been dominant in the field for some time (e.g., Bond &
DePaulo, 2006; Kraut, 1980; Mandelbaum, 2014; Vrij, Granhag, &
Porter, 2010). The current article takes a new position. I draw on
recent advances and present a more optimistic view of the lie detector: as one who makes informed judgments in a low diagnostic
world. In particular, I take a more Brunswikian point of view and
argue that people adapt their judgment strategies based on the
nature of the information available (see Brunswik, 1952). This is
referred to as the Adaptive Lie Detector account (ALIED).
1. Overview of the account
The ALIED account is inspired by advances in the decisionmaking literature, in particular the adaptive decision making

∗ Tel.: +1 6048220069.
E-mail address: c.street@psych.ubc.ca

perspective (Gigerenzer & Selten, 2001; Gigerenzer, Todd, & The
ABC Research Group, 1999; Simon, 1990). In an information-limited
world and with a finite cognitive capacity, people can arrive at satisfactorily accurate judgments. By adapting to the context, one can
put those limited resources to best use. Simplified strategies such
as recognition and heuristics allow for ‘satisficing’ inferences to
be made (Gigerenzer & Selten, 2001; Simon, 1956, 1990). Notably,
people do not default to leaning on their contextual knowledge,
but vicariously adapt what information they use in order to make
an informed judgment (Brunswik, 1952). These simplified contextgeneral rules help form decisions under uncertainty (Gigerenzer &
Gaissmaier, 2011; Simon, 1990).
ALIED proposes that people attempt to form a judgment about
a specific statement by using information that pertains directly to
that specific statement. For instance, a confession that the statement is false is an individuating piece of information that can help
us decide whether this particular statement is true or false. Similarly, verbal cues such as the amount of detail in the statement (e.g.,
Hartwig & Bond, 2011) are also specific to the current statement.
This is referred to as ‘individuating information’ because it gives us
information about this specific statement, rather than about statements in general.
The first key claim of ALIED is that raters trade off individuating
information with more context-general information, so that as the
individuating information becomes less diagnostic there is a greater
influence of context. ‘Context-general’ here is used to refer to information that is generalized across statements. For instance, it turns
out that most people tell the truth most of the time in their day-today interactions (DePaulo, Kashy, Kirkendol, Wyer, & Epstein, 1996;

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2015.06.002
2211-3681/© 2015 Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article in press as: Street, C.N. ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and
Cognition (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2015.06.002

A final rationale. “Wayne rarely lies”). the sole use of such context information will lead to systematic biases. Street / Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition xxx (2015) xxx–xxx 2 Grice. Levine. Blair et al. The emphasis here is on understanding the contents of a statement in a given context. of the system.org/10. and practical applications of the theory are offered. Levine. From there. Garrido. the field must consider how people trade off context-related information with individuating cues in order to reach a judgment. Before moving into the main body of the argument. we must accept that people do incorporate behavioral cues into their judgments (see Hartwig & Bond. Truth-default theory (TDT: Levine. Alonso. in this (dailylife) setting. if the context suggests most speakers will lie and the rater has no or little individuating information to work from. “people are fundamentally honest”). Others meanwhile have taken to a ‘content in context’ approach: Rather than focusing on what cues the liar portrays. & Wohrmann. the account I outline here suggests the direction that the field should move toward.G Model JARMAC-182. the correlation between the rater’s beliefs about the rate of honesty and the actual rate of honesty). 2010). No. Rather. rather than being a passive default response. Blair et al. 2012). This is a second key claim of the account. 2008). 2011. they place a very low ceiling on potential lie detection accuracy. Rationale for a new account Behavioral (verbal. We must also accept that people do seem to track the context in which their judgment is made (e. ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors.g. predictable information in the environment. truth and lie biases are thought to reflect an informed. but in the given context people usually tell the truth. which are unreliable. 2003): There is no Pinocchio’s nose that clearly indicates a person is lying or telling the truth (Vrij.g. Richter.002 . Specifically. As we will see. Krull. But it does not tell us whether the current statement is a lie or truth. where appropriate) is a result of making use of context-general information. and that they can do so just as quickly and effortlessly as judging others to be telling the truth (Hanks. such as where the crime occurred and what was stolen. C. 2009. (2010) showed how people can better detect lies about a crime if they were given contextual information about the crime itself. Kiani.N. a lie Please cite this article in press as: Street. rather than the subjective experience of confidence. http://dx. This is useful context-general information because it tells us on average how often we will encounter lies. According to ALIED. because all these generalize across statements. As can be seen by these examples. & Herrero. informed judgments in the current context does not necessarily entail that those judgments will therefore be accurate (Jussim..doi. it does not directly pertain to whether the current statement is the truth. Those authors also noted that the lies told by Asch’s (1956) confederates in the line judgment study could have been easily detected if participants were given information about the aims of the experiment.2015.g. Other forms of generalized information that will also be subsumed under the heading of context-general are person-based information (e.. and how it can be functional to be truth biased. but it has surprisingly received little attention.. Indeed. with other accounts that suggest people have a cognitive default to believe others. Masip.06. 2011..N. flexible and adaptive response to deal with uncertainty. 2013. raters should interpret what they hear in terms of the current context (Blair. Asp & Tranel. 2. DePaulo & DePaulo. accuracy should increase. Because individuating behavioral cues have low diagnosticity (DePaulo et al. ALIED proposes that the truth bias (or lie bias. which has largely rid itself of the strictly rational and normative theories that show people to be error-prone in favor of theories that highlight the adaptive and flexible nature of decisions (see Kahneman & Tversky. accurate or not. 2009.e.1016/j. 2012. It is important to note that no mention has been made of accuracy. ALIED addresses how people form their judgment. Gilbert. Hopp. which argues people do not default to being biased. Serota. sensible guess to fill in for the absence of more diagnostic individuating cues. suggesting that they may need explicit motivation to ignore individuating information. 1998. 2014a) proposes that people passively default to believing others are telling the truth. it is useful to be truth biased when the individuating cues to deception have low diagnosticity (or are lacking entirely). perhaps the most important. 2014a). 1975.g. a smart strategy is to be biased toward guessing speakers will lie. Interestingly. 1982. Put another way. & Shaw. Levine. It is also important to note that the context-general information is only correlated with honesty. & Boster. paraverbal and nonverbal) cues to deception have low diagnosticity and appear only probabilistically (DePaulo et al. Halevy. Additionally. There have been at least two suggestions for new research directions to address this. 2011. it is clear that there is uncertainty1 in making the judgment. The ALIED account is in accord with the decision-making literature. From there. I will consider why the truth bias can be considered an adaptive strategy. of Pages 9 ARTICLE IN PRESS C. those authors found that the content in context approach only works if participants are encouraged to attend to the context information. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (2015). for a set of metaanalytic studies showing the degree to which people use behavioral cues). This should not be possible if the cognitive system defaults to believing others are telling the truth (Gilbert. For instance.jarmac. predictions and limitations of the account are addressed. and does not directly address how they might make accurate judgments. If there is a “trigger”. 1989). In contrast to both the history of the field and more contemporary theories (e. ALIED claims the truth bias is not an ever-present default 1 Uncertainty refers to the objective lack of clear. Shalvi. Schroeder. The following section contrasts the claims of ALIED. 2009). 2010). Because it is argued that people rely more on context-general information when individuating cues are either absent or low in diagnosticity. It is no secret that the behavioral cue approach to lie detection has fallen out of favor in the lie detection community. But if we are to understand how people make their judgment. 2006). 1990).. Coupled with lie detection rates comparable to a coin toss (Bond & DePaulo. “salespeople often lie to me”) and beliefs (e. By increasing the diagnosticity of cues. Some suggest that the field should try to find ways to evoke more diagnostic behavioral cues to deception (Hartwig & Bond. Weber & Johnson.. Mellers.g. Using sensible. ALIED fills this gap by arguing that people can make use of informed strategies. & Shadlen. the presence and direction of the bias is all a matter of context: Relying on context-general information (“most people will lie/tell the truth”) can be a useful aid to making an informed judgment in the absence of more precise information. Discussion is given to the use of individuating and context-general cues. Street & Richardson. I propose that neither direction (cue boosting or content in context) in isolation of the other will give us an understanding of how lie–truth judgments are made.. 2010. Schwartz. 2003). To my knowledge there is no theory that claims the truth bias is an active. 2014). 2012). The lie detection literature unfortunately has little cross-fertilization with judgment and decision-making work. Vrij & Granhag. accuracy will depend on the diagnosticity of the individuating cues and whether the world really is biased in the same way that the rater believes (i. 1991. a rationale is given for the proposal of a new account. & Verschuere. ALIED can explain why people sometimes show a bias toward judging others as lying. How do raters tackle this uncertainty to make a lie–truth judgment? This seems like an obvious question. & Malone. is that the most recent theoretical advance in the lie detection field offers a theory that is more descriptive than predictive. Mazurek. & Cooke... even if that results in poor accuracy. one of the strengths of the proposed account is that it is consistent with work from across a wide range of psychological disciplines. prior experience with similar situations (e.

If the cognitive system defaulted to believing statements are truthful. 2009. 2006). 2002). . When they are strong and highly informative. We should also consider how judgments are made when highly diagnostic individuating cues are available. & Pachur. Bröder. 1975.org/10.doi. 2014. Gigerenzer. It seems reasonable to assume that if the individuating cues to deception are perfectly diagnostic. . The context proviso is important: If the current context makes it more likely that people will lie. Stephenson. C. Millar & Millar.. 2013. Griffin. Mulder. The reason is that speakers typically tell the truth (DePaulo et al. For instance. Gilovich. This is not to undermine the importance of TDT: it is undoubtedly a useful framework that synthesizes decades of work. 1990. ALIED instead reinterprets past findings and develops novel predictions. Street / Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition xxx (2015) xxx–xxx judgment can be made. 1993. They report focusing on non-diagnostic information such as eye contact. & Blair. A surprising result of this integration is that the truth bias. As such. the list is non-exhaustive.. a threshold is crossed. 1952. Strömwall & Granhag. Sporer & Schwandt. 2010. Levine. Kim. Tuerlinckx. 2011. Although a number of triggers are offered by the theory.1016/j. it may be cognitively more effortful to make lie than truth judgments: “If a trigger. the truth bias is only functional if most people tell the truth in the current context.002 . Levine et al. Simon.jarmac. for overviews see Gigerenzer & Gaissmaier. 2011. 2002). 2003. 2009. Halevy et al. Context: When a truth bias is and is not functional A truth bias is commonly observed in lie detection experiments (Bond & DePaulo. 2013.G Model JARMAC-182. I argue. 3 Of course.. In this sense. Kim.. (2013) found that when the motive behind a given statement was known (a perfectly diagnostic cue). .N. & von Hecker. show a lie bias (Meissner & Kassin. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (2015). it is more likely to give higher accuracy rates than a truth-biased response. then a lie bias is far more functional because. Stiff. assuming the individuating cues are weak. is reconceptualized as both functional and flexible. Levine (2014a). 1997. 4. because it takes a similar default position to that proposed by Gilbert (1991). ALIED offers a number of novel. commonly thought of as an error. 2014. & Driver. 2009.. people can achieve perfect accuracy. But a recent set of meta-analytic studies showed that despite what people self-report they actually make use of the more diagnostic content and behavioral cues that are available (Hartwig & Bond. van Ravenzwaaij. The truth bias may be the result of using just such a simplified rule. (b) they can identify cues that are diagnostic and can separate them from the nondiagnostic cues. First. Vrij & Semin. The second caveat to the functionality of the truth bias is that. This is perhaps the first evidence that lie detectors are more adaptive (in the sense of functional) than they were previously thought to have been. 1989. communication between people is useful only if both choose to deliver a message that is not false (Grice. 1981). it is difficult to generate testable predictions. With the limited individuating cues available. Jussim. & Williamson. But the assumption requires the following also to be true: (a) people attend to individuating cues. Perhaps one falsifiable claim that might be inferred from TDT is that. Hogarth & Karelaia. in the sense of both functional and flexible. such as police officers (Moston. 2007). 2008. raters are more prepared to infer others are lying (Bond et al. Sattler. & Thompson. 2014. 1996. Street & Richardson.06. And those who expect most speakers will lie to them. but not a predictive one. & Maydych. ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors. 2007). http://dx. 2013. In summary. is sufficiently potent. 2010). Although relatively little research has considered lie detection in highly diagnostic environments. and evidence is cognitively ¨ retrieved and/or sought to assess honesty-deceit(italics added). Given this flexibility. it makes good sense to use the generalized rule that a speaker is telling the truth. 2013). in the long run. it is more functional to make use of those cues to inform the judgment (see Bond et al. & Wagenmakers.N. has limited the scope of theorizing in the area. nonverbal.. 2006). Arias.2015. Hutchison. suggesting the lie bias can be fast and effortless (Hanks et al. It seems that we have arrived at a detailed descriptive theory of lie detection.. 2014). 2010). How do people deal with probabilistic and low-diagnostic individuating information? In such uncertain situations. see also Garcia-Retamero & Rieskamp. Howard.. Glöckner. This can be seen even from the earliest moments of consideration. 2011. 2010). But there are two caveats to this functionality of the truth bias. readily detectable liars). 1992). . 2010. Individuating cues to deception are typically weak and have low diagnosticity (DePaulo et al. Habermas.. & Masip. those few studies that used highly diagnostic individuating cues found that people can achieve near perfect accuracy (Bond. Hertwig. 1984. but because liars do not show reliable signs of deception: Behavioral cues – verbal. 2015). 2014). on the possibility of a few transparent.. 2006. of Pages 9 ARTICLE IN PRESS C. 2013. which was thought to explain their inaccuracy. Zuckerman. and (c) they rely more on the individuating information than on the context-general information to make their judgment. The possibility that the bias is a fixed cognitive default is considered further in Please cite this article in press as: Street. 3. 1992. After all. it allows (and maybe requires) that anything causing a lie judgment is defined as a trigger. Grice. accuracy was almost perfect. Raters usually need to deal with the uncertainty and ambiguity in the environment to reach a judgment. These rules allow people to reach ‘good enough’ judgments from limited information (Brunswik. Individuating cues For some time low accuracy was largely thought of as a knowledge problem (e. It is not clear whether the account makes the cognitive difficulty prediction. Malloy. raters seem to attend to the more diagnostic ones. the evidence is in accord with the ALIED proposal that people rely on generalized rules informed by their knowledge of the situation (Fiedler & Walka. paraverbal – are infrequent and have low diagnostic value (Sporer & Schwandt.. it is functional to have a context-based bias if the individuating cues to deception are weak or lacking. Koestner. Richter et al.. Nunn. Bond et al. 2012. Serota et al. a bias toward believing is functional: it will generally lead to the correct judgment (Jekel. Levine et al. & Ramesh. informed by past experience with the situation. People seem to have the wrong beliefs about what clues identify a liar (The Global Deception Research Team. DePaulo & DePaulo. Street & Richardson. McNally & Jackson. see also Masip & Herrero. When the situation makes it difficult for speakers to tell the truth. When the individuating deception cues in the environment are uninformative. 1996. 2013. 2013. see also Blair et al. & Kahneman. 2007). No. 2011). rather than trying to push one approach over the other. we would not expect to see such rapid and effortless biases toward lying in different contexts. if context-general information suggests that others will lie. 2012). see also Kim & Levine. The bias must reflect the current context if it is to be adaptive. ALIED explains how both individuating cues and more generalized cues are used in the judgment process. even though such a situation is rare (see Levine. 2003). this situation is rare. Accuracy rates are likely so low not because of misguided beliefs then. Meiser. 1975).. 2005. Until relatively recently the field has mostly explored lie–truth judgments in situations where the individuating cues are weak. and that it is just as fast and efficient as truth-biased judgments (Richter et al. because it shows the bias is not a fixed cognitive default (see Nadarevic & Erdfelder.. 2011. numerically quantifiable predictions that are yet to be tested. This. More generally.g. raters are biased toward judging statements as lies (Bond. Sperber et al. Sperber. It is important that a bias toward disbelieving can be observed early in the process.

2008. of Pages 9 4 C. 1990). C. They use simple generalized rules to decide what to believe.. 2015a. Schadron. A standardized effect size was not reported. Street & Richardson. What determines if it is cognitively more taxing to believe or disbelieve? The common underlying factor is whether the information is incongruent with the listener’s experience and expectations (Gervais & Henrich. 2004). So it is not always more cognitively taxing to disbelieve. McCornack & Levine. Dodd & Bradshaw. But raters who could explicitly indicate they were unsure showed a reduced truth bias. and reflects an understanding of the current context2 . this is not an all-encompassing.4% more lie judgments under high load than low load. Koenig. 1985). Park & Schwarz. & Mack. Kim. 2013. 2007). Robinson et al.g.002 . And when made suspicious. Such a strong position is hard to defend. Street and Richardson (2015a) argued for just such a view of lie detection. people make a similar proportion of lie judgments when under cognitive load than when there is no load (Millar & Millar. 2008). 1980. Diamond. 1994). & Stahl. Kelley. 2013. Levine & McCornack. & Birch. Subbotsky. for similar findings without a suspicion manipulation). see also Reyes-Jaquez & Echols. No amount of effort can prevent the initial truth belief (Gilbert et al. 2014. 2014. But as the individuating information becomes less diagnostic participants switch to using more generalized base-rate information (Ginossar & Trope.. respectively (Wandrey. & Runner. 1995. Davies. children as young as 4 years make use of it instead of showing a blanket bias to believe or disbelieve (Brosseau-Liard & Birch. see also Reinhard & Sporer. 2010. in certain contexts it may take more effort to believe what others say is true.. time or effort to override the default? Both long-standing (Gilbert. 2014a) proposes a presumption of truth on part of the listener because people either fail to consider the possibility of a lie or they cannot find enough evidence to warrant switching from the default truth belief (Levine. the current context is not the only way to make informed judgments when unsure. Yoon.jarmac... 1997). 6. see also Anderson.g. and where the statements are uninformative (i. 2015a). 1980. 1987. 1997. Widmeyer & Loy. It claims that people have no choice but to believe what others say is true. For instance. Thus it seems context-relevant knowledge is being used to compensate for the absence of more immediately available diagnostic evidence (Bar-Hillel. Street & Richardson. Truth bias as a cognitive default Might there still be room for an account claiming that people default to believing others and that disbelieving requires additional 2 As already alluded to. 2009.. & Strack. people can rely on other information such as meta-cognitive feelings of familiarity (Skurnik. there is evidence that negating a statement (e. for similar findings in impression formation research). 2015). 1991. These findings suggest there need not be greater cognitive resources available to disbelieve others’ statements (Hasson et al. 2012.g. Similarly. for an argument in support of the Spinozan position).. 1950. & Spencer. Mandelbaum. 2005). in situations where there is a large scope for uncertainty). they should rely more on context when the individuating cues have low diagnosticity. ever-present naivety to believe everything (see Clément. In their study. Kruglanski. & Chun. Neuropsychological research finds that closed neuronal circuits create a self-feedback loop so that the uncertainty in incomplete representations can be filled in by using previously stored context-generalized information (Marr. & Lyon. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (2015). 1977. 1995). Only afterwards can the initial belief be re-evaluated. 19973 . Alves. For simplicity. this article refers to context-based information. 2007. Nadarevic and Erdfelder (2013) suggest the evidence supporting the Spinozan account is limited to situations where people have no background knowledge. For example. in contrast to default theories. 2014. see also Mitchell. Morison & Gardner. Van Swol. Robinson. But if more diagnostic individuating information is available. In fact. then truth 3 In their sample. Ma & Ganea. 2014). 5. People do rely on oversimplified rules to interpret the ambiguous. at first. 2004. If the context information has faded from memory. Gunlogson.06. 2009. Stiff et al. see also Barbey & Sloman. Although they will often show a bias to believe others (e. 2014a) accounts have proposed the truth bias reflects a default belief. people are Spinozan truth-biased when individuating cues to meaning are lacking: People are guessing information is true only when they are unsure (Street & Richardson. KordtsFreudinger. Brosseau-Liard.doi. When more individuating information is available. 2014a. 2014.2015. Koehler. Matlock. Tanenhaus. 2002).N. there is less reliance on generalized stereotypic knowledge (Kunda. http://dx. 2015). 2010. But when there is more individuating information available. see Skowronski & Carlston. Unkelbach. 2005. 1990.. & Harris. if the context suggests statements are truthful. Dang. but this difference was not statistically significant. Robinson. Mitchell & Nye. & Isaacs. 1991. Lane & Harris. 1996. ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors. it is important for the ALIED account to show that people rely less on context when the cues in the immediate environment have high diagnosticity.G Model ARTICLE IN PRESS JARMAC-182. 1990). 2009. ‘the eagle is in the sky’) can be faster. 1992. Biased responding seems to be adaptive and flexible. & Burnstein. Adams.. and has been criticized both empirically and conceptually (e.N. Put another way. 1990. 2007. see also Clément et al. 1980. 2004). 1991. and effortless (Deutsch. Truth-default theory (TDT: Levine. Toris & DePaulo. Integrating individuating cues with context As well as being flexible to context. it is also consistent with another default account that makes more conservative claims. Cassels. Lick & Johnson. 2002.org/10... 2014. Similarly. Gawronski. 2011. but other available sources of generalized information could take its place. This is because people would no longer need to make an ‘educated guess’ to cope with the environmental uncertainty.e. & Jones. Street / Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition xxx (2015) xxx–xxx Section 6. as a default account would claim. Bayer. 2014. Rye. The ‘Spinozan’ account (Gilbert.. That is.g. 2014. 2004. Yzerbyt. Mannetti. raters make relatively little use of the base rates. 1971). although see Mandelbaum. No. 1988). uncertain behavior of others to fill in on missing pieces of information (Higgins. for evidence in the psycholinguistic literature). Huette. However. see also Schwarz. Erb.. Mandelbaum. they rapidly activate knowledge that is incongruent with the content of the speaker’s message (Schul et al. The Spinozan account offers no flexibility in its truth bias: Even forewarning does not allow people to overcome their default truth belief (Gilbert et al. Kahn. Rholes.. Woolley & Ghossainy. 2014) takes a strong default position. Kruglanski et al. & Spivey. Koch. Schul. Mayo. The same strategies can be observed in young children who are still developing executive control (De Luca & Leventer. Pierro. People are more likely to make lie judgments when made suspicious than when they are not suspicious (e. 2010. 2015). 2010.. Although this guessing bias is consistent with ALIED. Please cite this article in press as: Street. base rates provide a useful overview of the current situation. respondents made 7. raters who were forced to make a lie–truth judgment showed a truth bias.1016/j.g. even when cognitive resources are limited by means of a cognitive load (Millar & Millar. 2014). ‘the eagle is not in the sky’) compared to affirming a statement (e. Street & Richardson. truth-biased responders do not require additional cognitive effort or more processing time to consider the possibility of deception (Richter et al. see also Woolley & Ghossainy. suggesting the bias reflects a guess to deal with uncertainty. 1978) and recent (Levine. Quas. and when people are made to feel distrustful. characters committing a good or bad act are judged as truth-tellers and liars. unintentional. Leyens. & Rocher.

This again offers a testable prediction of the account. accuracy was still relatively high when behavioral information was available (just under 80%). Limitations of an adaptive lie detector account Although ALIED offers a number of testable predictions and synthesizes work across psychological disciplines. 2010. Study 1).e. But as I will show in Section 8 this prediction is not entirely unchallenged. 7. the use of context-general information should increase. it would be difficult for ALIED to explain a positive relationship between the use context-general and individuating information. Consider a recent finding by Bond et al. it has its limitations. 2003). 2004. Assuming the absence of individuating cues. Street / Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition xxx (2015) xxx–xxx judgments are less cognitively taxing to make. (ii) The less diagnostic an individuating cue is. and so should lead to context-informed judgments. so too will the response bias. and as arising from different underlying processes. Thus a mismatch between (a) subjective perceptions of context-general/individuating cues and (b) the objective diagnosticity of context-general/individuating 5 cues will lead to lower accuracy rates compared to when there is a match. and because individuating cues are usually weak (DePaulo et al. judgments consistent with context-general information should be cognitively easier. The adaptive strategy I have argued for should often lead to relatively accurate judgments compared to random guessing.. to use individuating behavioral information was not misguided because it nonetheless resulted in an impressive accuracy rate. Put simply. Although this seems to undermine the account. (iv) Although the strategies people use are adaptive and functional. most people tell the truth) diverge from the actual state of the environment (e..jarmac. (2013. This trade-off should be easily simulated with a linear model. First.N. Instead. If the context suggested most people would lie.org/10.06. 8. As such. which may exhibit itself in reaction times or other measures of judgment difficulty. Levine et al. Not detecting a diagnostic individuating cue is equivalent to that cue not being present. In summary. the more impact context-general information will have on the final judgment. Under the ALIED account. context information guides the belief judgment process only in the absence of more individuating cues. i.. Woolley. as TDT would argue. 2001) shows that accuracy increases as the base rate of honesty increases. The Park–Levine (P–L) probability model (Park & Levine. of Pages 9 C. but as yet I am unaware of any published data that has assessed this. Hartwig & Bond. This is only true provided there is an absence of more tangible and readily testable individuating evidence (Gervais & Henrich. The same is true of individuating cues.G Model ARTICLE IN PRESS JARMAC-182. accuracy increases because the environment becomes more representative of a context-based heuristic. When highly diagnostic cues are available. and so there should be less cognitive difficulty in making judgments that contrast with context-general information. incentive information and behavioral cues are both individuating cues—they each speak 4 Although one must be careful to note that ALIED would predict this model would perform more poorly in accounting for accuracy as the diagnosticity of individuating cues increase. In the presence of highly diagnostic individuating cues. People do not always rely on the best evidence available to them.1016/j. 2014a) would propose that accuracy increases because the environment becomes more representative of people’s default cognitive tendency to believe others are telling the truth... The account assumes that as individuating information becomes less diagnostic or absent. But ALIED argues that.. Boerger. Importantly. Some further predictions may be garnered from Section 9. ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors. 2011). (vi) It may even be possible to generalize the P–L model to account for the effect of contextgeneralized information.N. http://dx. again assuming the individuating cues are weak. and more importantly. So although accuracy clearly declined. 2013. for example). Woolley & Ghossainy. people will make use of them to form their lie–truth judgments. C.e. without incentive information).doi. the use of context-general information increases. Such a numerical prediction should be relatively easy to test. people do not have a cognitive default to believe. Notice that no distinction has been made between the truth bias and the lie bias. Or in terms of ALIED. There is some albeit limited evidence in the lie detection literature to support this (Bond et al. this would be problematic for the ALIED account. (iii) Individuating and context-general cues will be used to different degrees in a judgment. not increase. which leaves open an opportunity for falsifying the account. because people’s prior experiences suggest most people tell the truth (DePaulo et al. (i) highly diagnostic individuating-cues should guide the judgment. Even when a perfectly diagnostic cue is available in the form of incentives the speaker has for lying.2015. Please cite this article in press as: Street. there are two important caveats. Because TDT claims the truth bias is a default.g. we cannot trust people’s self-report to assess what diagnostic cues are available (Hartwig & Bond. TDT (Levine. & Markman. How is the integration of context-general and individuating cues carried out? A simple linear model should be able to capture this behavior: As the diagnosticity of the individuating cues decrease. the ALIED position encapsulates default theories by claiming that the support for default theories is the result of a fixed truth-suggestive context. Predictions of the ALIED account One of the advantages of ALIED is that it offers a number of predictions that can be tested. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (2015). If the lie bias can be shown to be functionally distinct from the truth bias. Put another way. But it can lead to wildly inaccurate judgments too. similar to previously reported accuracy rates using behavioral information alone (i. ALIED would predict that a more general version of the P–L model could be constructed such that a dummy variable is multiplied to their formula to account for context: The variable should be −1 when people are expected to lie (thus accuracy should be greatest when the base rate of lies is greatest) and +1 when people are expected to tell the truth (thus accuracy should be greatest when the base rate of honesty is greatest)4 . Second. accuracy should decrease when most people are lying. these biases are functionally equivalent and result from the same underlying process: an attempt to make an informed guess in the absence of more diagnostic individuating cues.002 . they can lead to highly inaccurate judgments: In situations where beliefs about (subjective perceptions of) the diagnosticity of individuating cues and/or about the context-general information diverges markedly from the true (objective) state of the world. No. raters still incorporate less diagnostic behavioral information into their judgment. 2011. then raters should rely on context-general information to make an informed guess. context-general information should have less of an influence on the decision process. where context-based general information is relied upon more heavily as an individuating cue becomes more diagnostic. people must on some level know that there are diagnostic individuating cues available. 2013). ALIED would predict that responding would be reverse to the P–L probability model such that accuracy would increase as more and more people lied. if the raters’ beliefs about the current context (e.g. As recent meta-analyses have shown us. When the context shifts. which causes lower accuracy. If raters fail to notice or process diagnostic individuating cues (which may be assessed by means of a lens model analysis. 2014). in an experimental setting usually there is an equal proportion of liars and truth-tellers). 1996)..

I still believe we must rid ourselves of the truth bias. and judgment and decision-making research. or giving further information about the motives and incentives behind the statement (Bond et al. base rates (Park & Levine. They can vary from social rules (O’Sullivan.g. 1980).G Model JARMAC-182. Schwarz’s (2015) ‘Big Five’ criteria shows that the easier it is to process some information. the account places focus on how people can make adaptive judgments when individuating cues are absent or lacking diagnosticity.N. This places a limit on the explanatory power of the account.. only one component of the lie detection process. Schwarz. & Anderson. & McCornack. The account does not make any claims as to how people select or integrate multiple diagnostic individuating cues. For instance. It is an adaptive strategy to rely on more generalized context-general information when more individuating cues have low diagnosticity. Fiedler. 2012. 2012). personal relationships (McCornack & Levine. 2015. we should in turn be able to focus our scientific telescope on the relevant behaviors to discover what individuating clues there may be to deception (Burgoon. 2014.. and if they are all integrated into the judgment or if people select only a small set of the available cues. the consistently low accuracy rates (Bond & DePaulo. 2013. This generalized knowledge will be adaptive in the long run. Street & Richardson. 1999. 1991. By integrating across cognitive. sparked a rush to application. the base rate of honesty with other context-general cues (e. In their absence.. ALIED claims that the bias comes about as an attempt to make an informed guess in the absence of more individuating cues by relying more heavily on context-general information. Please cite this article in press as: Street.’s (2013) findings is of course mere speculation. Given that manipulations of generalized suspicion and other manipulations sometimes only reduce the truth bias rather than result in a lie bias (e.. Miller & Stiff. Schuetzler. 1993. if we are to improve lie detection accuracy we must increase the diagnosticity of individuating cues. In line with current thinking. social. 1993. developmental. But ALIED does not claim people always make the most accurate judgment: otherwise researchers would only need to look at the environment to be able to perfectly predict behavior (Simon.g. coupled with the obvious applications to. the theoretical account offered here stands in sharp contrast to the long-held view that lie detectors are error-prone (e. This may be easier said than done. of Pages 9 ARTICLE IN PRESS C. It is important to note that salience can be functional and lead to informed judgments. 1999). 2015a). if there were no diagnostic individuating cues available (e. One of the most important contributions of the ALIED account. are given more credence and so more weighting in the judgment (see Nisbett & Ross. When this option is available. This has implications beyond the domains of detecting deception. 2001. 2010). To reliably improve lie detection in applied settings. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (2015). 2006). and metacognition is likely to play an important role here (see Ask et al. say.1016/j.. and (iii) where that judgment process goes wrong. Gilbert. then. & Wänke. and by exploring how behavior unfolds.. This has drastic implications for how the field should progress. & Wilson. it may be that the speakers’ behaviors. 2015. & Richardson. Hansen. Stahl. Street / Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition xxx (2015) xxx–xxx 6 directly to the veracity of the given statement. Hypothetically. rather than making a forced choice. Practical application As is widely known in the community. more compatible with what one believes. 1980. but it is consistent with previous findings and shows how even salience can be relied upon to make an informed choice (Schwarz. Kraut. Street & Richardson. 2003). rather than forcing them into making a lie or truth judgment. Reber & Schwarz. being more salient than abstracted incentive information. Street and Richardson (2015b) argue saliency may be the key to explaining why accuracy improves when using the indirect lie detection method.g. Future work is required to test this speculation. Blair et al. rather. is to provide a process-oriented foundation from which to begin addressing how best to detect deception. But despite this benefit. But before trying to remove biases from lie–truth judgments. before the speaker has even begun to deliver a statement).002 . 2015b). ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors. and it may be fruitful to integrate those findings into the ALIED account. By gaining a further understanding of how and why people lie.06. 2015. 1992). say. but in individual instances it may lead to incorrect judgments. 2010. for consideration of this possibility). (ii) how raters try to make the lie–truth judgment. the bias has been shown to reduce or disappear (Street & Kingstone. 2012. 2012). Schwarz & Clore. suspicion) in the current environment (see Street & Richardson. Buller & Burgoon. 2012). & Reinhard. Greifeneder. Vrij & Granhag. This might mean amplifying behavioral cues (Vrij & Granhag. This has largely been lacking in theory (Köhnken. The Global Deception Research Team. we must first ask whether we ought to remove judgmental biases at all. 1996. 1990. Poppe. Platzer & Bröder. Instead. ALIED argues the truth bias. Clearly then. we must understand (i) the processes underlying how and why people deceive. 2012). Street & Richardson. Dale. Duran. Dechêne. This fact. 2000.g.N. easily processed information can often act as a useful proxy to guide truth judgments (Ask. Levine. the more likely that information is to be supported by other evidence. It does not necessarily follow that less biased judgments will be more accurate judgments (Jussim. 2014) and even emotion and affect (Shackman et al. Street. Finally. 1990). 1996). should we flip a coin to decide if a statement is a lie or truth? Or should we instead make use of our prior knowledge of the world and other contextgeneral information to make an informed choice? The latter seems more likely to lead to more accurate judgments in the long run. 2006. C.doi. Kello. Taylor. Indeed.2015. is the result of an attempt to make accurate judgments by relying on informed but generalized strategies. Miller & Stiff. Reducing judgmental biases may mean paying attention to when there are few or no diagnostic individuating cues available and refraining from making a guess. we need a theory that can explain if and when different types of context-general cues are used. Van Der Zee. practitioners and lay people who are required to make veracity assessments must come to rely on diagnostic individuating cues and be aware of when those cues are absent. No. Most organizations are concerned with effective and unbiased decision-making. and to encourage the field to explore lie detection from a process-oriented perspective. This is particularly important if we are to prevent people guessing (or assuming) that someone will lie or tell the truth before they have even begun speaking. cited by Reinhard & Sporer. lie detection accuracy is only marginally above chance (Bond & DePaulo.org/10. This does not seem very adaptive or functional. and more internally coherent with other available information. 2015). 2011). Thus salient. To attain reliable accuracy rates. A very simple way to do this is to give people the explicit option of saying “unsure”. amongst others. it may be that people integrate their context-general beliefs about. people must be encouraged to acknowledge the uncertainty in the environment and then abstain from judgment. 2014b). improves their recall accuracy (Koriat & Goldsmith. 2015).. This account of Bond et al. using effective questioning methods to probe the statement (Levine.. 2015). the police force and military investigations. http://dx. 9. Speculatively. the word ‘bias’ unfortunately implies an erroneous imbalance that must be corrected (see Street & Masip. 2013.jarmac. Park. remaining agnostic. 2006) show people do not always make the most accurate judgments. A more problematic limitation is that ALIED does not propose how people select or integrate various types of context-general cues. But some work in the memory domain finds that allowing people to indicate they are uncertain. 2007). 2010.

Stuss. So in many circumstances. J. The conceptual framework of psychology.. M. Buller. ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors. & Davis. Deutsch. 200–216).uk/ publications/category/item/future-courts-a-new-vision-for-summary-justice. This will ultimately exhibit itself as a truth or lie bias. 1–70. K. B.. Bond. where magistrates will dispense justice from “community buildings. M. K. (1980). V. Please cite this article in press as: Street. D. may lead to incorrect judgments about a given statement and so should be treated with caution. On the temporal dynamics of negated perceptual simulations. but they are nonetheless functional. K. 1788–1796. Cassels. A. Stanford. 466–503). 203–242. & R. R. P. & Cooper. 1–24. Anderson. anatomy.. Executive functions and the frontal lobes: A lifespan perspective (pp. A.. B. Brunswik. 35. Can deception by salespersons and customers be detected through nonverbal behavioural cues? Journal of Applied Social Psychology. 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