G Model

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

Others meanwhile have taken to a ‘content in context’ approach: Rather than focusing on what cues the liar portrays. which argues people do not default to being biased. 2012). 2011. (2010) showed how people can better detect lies about a crime if they were given contextual information about the crime itself.N. The ALIED account is in accord with the decision-making literature. From there.e. 2010. We must also accept that people do seem to track the context in which their judgment is made (e. is that the most recent theoretical advance in the lie detection field offers a theory that is more descriptive than predictive. 2003). As can be seen by these examples. informed judgments in the current context does not necessarily entail that those judgments will therefore be accurate (Jussim. The emphasis here is on understanding the contents of a statement in a given context. 1990). raters should interpret what they hear in terms of the current context (Blair. one of the strengths of the proposed account is that it is consistent with work from across a wide range of psychological disciplines. A final rationale. Richter. of the system.002 . Street / Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition xxx (2015) xxx–xxx 2 Grice. Some suggest that the field should try to find ways to evoke more diagnostic behavioral cues to deception (Hartwig & Bond. & Cooke. Mellers. & Wohrmann. 1989). the correlation between the rater’s beliefs about the rate of honesty and the actual rate of honesty). Kiani. 2003): There is no Pinocchio’s nose that clearly indicates a person is lying or telling the truth (Vrij. Because individuating behavioral cues have low diagnosticity (DePaulo et al.g. By increasing the diagnosticity of cues. 1982. Serota. it is clear that there is uncertainty1 in making the judgment. 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. Blair et al. http://dx.. Shalvi. 2008). “Wayne rarely lies”). The following section contrasts the claims of ALIED. in this (dailylife) setting. predictions and limitations of the account are addressed. Coupled with lie detection rates comparable to a coin toss (Bond & DePaulo. Schroeder. those authors found that the content in context approach only works if participants are encouraged to attend to the context information. flexible and adaptive response to deal with uncertainty. 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. 2011. “salespeople often lie to me”) and beliefs (e. Truth-default theory (TDT: Levine.g. they place a very low ceiling on potential lie detection accuracy. Garrido. This is a second key claim of the account.. For instance. But it does not tell us whether the current statement is a lie or truth. Halevy. C. & Herrero. ALIED addresses how people form their judgment. Krull. suggesting that they may need explicit motivation to ignore individuating information. I will consider why the truth bias can be considered an adaptive strategy. If there is a “trigger”. It is important to note that no mention has been made of accuracy. Asp & Tranel. From there. with other accounts that suggest people have a cognitive default to believe others.. rather than being a passive default response. Gilbert. and that they can do so just as quickly and effortlessly as judging others to be telling the truth (Hanks.. rather than the subjective experience of confidence. the account I outline here suggests the direction that the field should move toward. and practical applications of the theory are offered.g. Rather. Discussion is given to the use of individuating and context-general cues. where appropriate) is a result of making use of context-general information. Blair et al. 1991.jarmac. because all these generalize across statements. it does not directly pertain to whether the current statement is the truth. 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. but in the given context people usually tell the truth. Because it is argued that people rely more on context-general information when individuating cues are either absent or low in diagnosticity. 2009). sensible guess to fill in for the absence of more diagnostic individuating cues. Using sensible. ALIED can explain why people sometimes show a bias toward judging others as lying. This should not be possible if the cognitive system defaults to believing others are telling the truth (Gilbert. In contrast to both the history of the field and more contemporary theories (e. Additionally. But if we are to understand how people make their judgment. the sole use of such context information will lead to systematic biases.. & Shaw. ALIED claims the truth bias is not an ever-present default 1 Uncertainty refers to the objective lack of clear.G Model JARMAC-182.06.. 2012).. The lie detection literature unfortunately has little cross-fertilization with judgment and decision-making work. prior experience with similar situations (e. 2010). This is useful context-general information because it tells us on average how often we will encounter lies. Other forms of generalized information that will also be subsumed under the heading of context-general are person-based information (e. and does not directly address how they might make accurate judgments. Before moving into the main body of the argument. perhaps the most important. Schwartz.doi. How do raters tackle this uncertainty to make a lie–truth judgment? This seems like an obvious question. the field must consider how people trade off context-related information with individuating cues in order to reach a judgment. According to ALIED. Put another way. 2014a) proposes that people passively default to believing others are telling the truth. a rationale is given for the proposal of a new account. 2014). Alonso. 2009. Levine. predictable information in the environment. 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. ALIED fills this gap by arguing that people can make use of informed strategies. 2013.g. 2012. 2006). 1998. which are unreliable. DePaulo & DePaulo. truth and lie biases are thought to reflect an informed. Masip. Levine. Mazurek. 2009. we must accept that people do incorporate behavioral cues into their judgments (see Hartwig & Bond. accuracy should increase. if the context suggests most speakers will lie and the rater has no or little individuating information to work from. & Shadlen. and how it can be functional to be truth biased. There have been at least two suggestions for new research directions to address this. Levine. Street & Richardson. Indeed. & Verschuere. “people are fundamentally honest”). even if that results in poor accuracy. No. Hopp. 2. ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors.. accurate or not. & Boster. of Pages 9 ARTICLE IN PRESS C.N. paraverbal and nonverbal) cues to deception have low diagnosticity and appear only probabilistically (DePaulo et al. 1975. Specifically. but it has surprisingly received little attention. 2014a).1016/j. Weber & Johnson.org/10. To my knowledge there is no theory that claims the truth bias is an active. & Malone. It is no secret that the behavioral cue approach to lie detection has fallen out of favor in the lie detection community. such as where the crime occurred and what was stolen. Rationale for a new account Behavioral (verbal. As we will see. ALIED proposes that the truth bias (or lie bias. Vrij & Granhag. It is also important to note that the context-general information is only correlated with honesty.. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (2015). a smart strategy is to be biased toward guessing speakers will lie. it is useful to be truth biased when the individuating cues to deception have low diagnosticity (or are lacking entirely).g. 2010). Interestingly. 2011. 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. a lie Please cite this article in press as: Street. for a set of metaanalytic studies showing the degree to which people use behavioral cues).

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

2004).. and has been criticized both empirically and conceptually (e. 2012. Please cite this article in press as: Street. base rates provide a useful overview of the current situation.1016/j. Unkelbach. Tanenhaus. 2014. Similarly. 1977. Alves. 2014).. 2014. Robinson et al. Robinson. 2014) takes a strong default position. respectively (Wandrey. 2009. and when people are made to feel distrustful. For simplicity. But if more diagnostic individuating information is available. for similar findings without a suspicion manipulation).N. 2004). 2002). but other available sources of generalized information could take its place. Robinson. Adams. 2008. for similar findings in impression formation research). But raters who could explicitly indicate they were unsure showed a reduced truth bias. Similarly. 2009. uncertain behavior of others to fill in on missing pieces of information (Higgins. Leyens. there is less reliance on generalized stereotypic knowledge (Kunda.g.g. this is not an all-encompassing. Morison & Gardner. and where the statements are uninformative (i. ‘the eagle is not in the sky’) compared to affirming a statement (e. & Chun. 2014a) accounts have proposed the truth bias reflects a default belief. & Spivey. 2008). 1991. In fact. Kim. in contrast to default theories. Stiff et al. http://dx. 1992. Erb.G Model ARTICLE IN PRESS JARMAC-182. 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. 2002. Although they will often show a bias to believe others (e.. Only afterwards can the initial belief be re-evaluated. 2011. see also Clément et al. & Burnstein. 2013. It claims that people have no choice but to believe what others say is true. 1950. & Harris. 2015a. Mitchell & Nye. 2014. Levine & McCornack. Such a strong position is hard to defend. Street and Richardson (2015a) argued for just such a view of lie detection.. Truth-default theory (TDT: Levine. 2014). see also Mitchell. 2015). Gunlogson. 1980.jarmac. Cassels. 2014a. Kruglanski. 1990). Kruglanski et al. for an argument in support of the Spinozan position). 1997. Schadron. this article refers to context-based information. Van Swol. 2009. & Rocher. 1996. and reflects an understanding of the current context2 . People do rely on oversimplified rules to interpret the ambiguous. 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. & Lyon. see also Schwarz. 2004. & Stahl.. then truth 3 In their sample. They use simple generalized rules to decide what to believe. No amount of effort can prevent the initial truth belief (Gilbert et al. Street / Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition xxx (2015) xxx–xxx Section 6.. When more individuating information is available.. 6. 2005). 2005. people make a similar proportion of lie judgments when under cognitive load than when there is no load (Millar & Millar. 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. 1991. Street & Richardson. it is also consistent with another default account that makes more conservative claims. Pierro.. even when cognitive resources are limited by means of a cognitive load (Millar & Millar. 2015). see also Anderson. 2014. 1988). of Pages 9 4 C. Gawronski. Widmeyer & Loy. the current context is not the only way to make informed judgments when unsure. Brosseau-Liard. 2010. in certain contexts it may take more effort to believe what others say is true. Schul. truth-biased responders do not require additional cognitive effort or more processing time to consider the possibility of deception (Richter et al.N. Mannetti. 1995. Quas. 2010. ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors. Kahn. see also Reinhard & Sporer. they rapidly activate knowledge that is incongruent with the content of the speaker’s message (Schul et al. Nadarevic and Erdfelder (2013) suggest the evidence supporting the Spinozan account is limited to situations where people have no background knowledge.. Mayo. see Skowronski & Carlston. In their study. 1985).g. raters make relatively little use of the base rates.e. 5. Woolley & Ghossainy.. see also Woolley & Ghossainy. for evidence in the psycholinguistic literature). Rye. 1995). A standardized effect size was not reported. 1991. The same strategies can be observed in young children who are still developing executive control (De Luca & Leventer. So it is not always more cognitively taxing to disbelieve. McCornack & Levine. 2007. For instance. 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. Lick & Johnson. see also Reyes-Jaquez & Echols. Lane & Harris. they should rely more on context when the individuating cues have low diagnosticity. These findings suggest there need not be greater cognitive resources available to disbelieve others’ statements (Hasson et al.. No. Mandelbaum. Matlock. Koehler.. 2014. KordtsFreudinger. & Jones. Davies. in situations where there is a large scope for uncertainty). 1990. However. 1987. Bayer. Huette. People are more likely to make lie judgments when made suspicious than when they are not suspicious (e. & Spencer. 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. & Isaacs. characters committing a good or bad act are judged as truth-tellers and liars.4% more lie judgments under high load than low load. 2007). Yoon.org/10. & Birch. Koch. 2015).2015. 1980. If the context information has faded from memory.doi. suggesting the bias reflects a guess to deal with uncertainty. Put another way. 2015a). ever-present naivety to believe everything (see Clément. 1980. 2010. Integrating individuating cues with context As well as being flexible to context. see also Barbey & Sloman. ‘the eagle is in the sky’) can be faster. & Strack. 1994). 1997). at first. 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. Dodd & Bradshaw. people can rely on other information such as meta-cognitive feelings of familiarity (Skurnik. if the context suggests statements are truthful. Yzerbyt. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (2015). For example. although see Mandelbaum. This is because people would no longer need to make an ‘educated guess’ to cope with the environmental uncertainty. but this difference was not statistically significant. 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. 1978) and recent (Levine.. Dang. 2007. Diamond. Thus it seems context-relevant knowledge is being used to compensate for the absence of more immediately available diagnostic evidence (Bar-Hillel. Biased responding seems to be adaptive and flexible. Street & Richardson. Park & Schwarz. & Mack.002 .. 1971). 2010. Although this guessing bias is consistent with ALIED. 19973 . 2014.06. Mandelbaum. But as the individuating information becomes less diagnostic participants switch to using more generalized base-rate information (Ginossar & Trope. 1990. Kelley. respondents made 7. time or effort to override the default? Both long-standing (Gilbert.g. And when made suspicious. Street & Richardson. 2014. But when there is more individuating information available. That is. & Runner. Koenig. 1990). Toris & DePaulo. Subbotsky. there is evidence that negating a statement (e. Rholes. 2013. raters who were forced to make a lie–truth judgment showed a truth bias. children as young as 4 years make use of it instead of showing a blanket bias to believe or disbelieve (Brosseau-Liard & Birch.g. Ma & Ganea. and effortless (Deutsch.. unintentional. 2004. C. The ‘Spinozan’ account (Gilbert. as a default account would claim.

7. where context-based general information is relied upon more heavily as an individuating cue becomes more diagnostic. which causes lower accuracy..g. Because TDT claims the truth bias is a default. Put another way. First. TDT (Levine.doi. the use of context-general information should increase. the ALIED position encapsulates default theories by claiming that the support for default theories is the result of a fixed truth-suggestive context. this would be problematic for the ALIED account. If raters fail to notice or process diagnostic individuating cues (which may be assessed by means of a lens model analysis. No. The Park–Levine (P–L) probability model (Park & Levine. There is some albeit limited evidence in the lie detection literature to support this (Bond et al. Put simply. Such a numerical prediction should be relatively easy to test. the more impact context-general information will have on the final judgment. and so should lead to context-informed judgments.N. 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. context-general information should have less of an influence on the decision process. not increase. So although accuracy clearly declined. When highly diagnostic cues are available. similar to previously reported accuracy rates using behavioral information alone (i. and more importantly.G Model ARTICLE IN PRESS JARMAC-182. (ii) The less diagnostic an individuating cue is. judgments consistent with context-general information should be cognitively easier.. 2013. context information guides the belief judgment process only in the absence of more individuating cues. Second. This trade-off should be easily simulated with a linear model. accuracy should decrease when most people are lying. This is only true provided there is an absence of more tangible and readily testable individuating evidence (Gervais & Henrich. most people tell the truth) diverge from the actual state of the environment (e. which may exhibit itself in reaction times or other measures of judgment difficulty. 2011. Hartwig & Bond. 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. (iii) Individuating and context-general cues will be used to different degrees in a judgment. and so there should be less cognitive difficulty in making judgments that contrast with context-general information. of Pages 9 C. but as yet I am unaware of any published data that has assessed this. If the lie bias can be shown to be functionally distinct from the truth bias. Under the ALIED account.N. without incentive information). it would be difficult for ALIED to explain a positive relationship between the use context-general and individuating information. 8. Importantly. Not detecting a diagnostic individuating cue is equivalent to that cue not being present. Instead. 2010. 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. 1996). (vi) It may even be possible to generalize the P–L model to account for the effect of contextgeneralized information. it has its limitations. which leaves open an opportunity for falsifying the account. because people’s prior experiences suggest most people tell the truth (DePaulo et al.1016/j. 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 . & Markman. Or in terms of ALIED. Notice that no distinction has been made between the truth bias and the lie bias. accuracy was still relatively high when behavioral information was available (just under 80%). Street / Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition xxx (2015) xxx–xxx judgments are less cognitively taxing to make. (i) highly diagnostic individuating-cues should guide the judgment. if the raters’ beliefs about the current context (e. As recent meta-analyses have shown us.. Assuming the absence of individuating cues. http://dx. there are two important caveats.002 . for example). If the context suggested most people would lie. (2013. Woolley. The same is true of individuating cues. again assuming the individuating cues are weak. But as I will show in Section 8 this prediction is not entirely unchallenged. 2011).2015. we cannot trust people’s self-report to assess what diagnostic cues are available (Hartwig & Bond. Boerger. 2003). people must on some level know that there are diagnostic individuating cues available.e. C. and because individuating cues are usually weak (DePaulo et al. As such. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (2015). 2014). 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.e. Although this seems to undermine the account. People do not always rely on the best evidence available to them. 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.jarmac. to use individuating behavioral information was not misguided because it nonetheless resulted in an impressive accuracy rate. In summary. But ALIED argues that.06. When the context shifts. Limitations of an adaptive lie detector account Although ALIED offers a number of testable predictions and synthesizes work across psychological disciplines. 2013). Study 1). accuracy increases because the environment becomes more representative of a context-based heuristic. The adaptive strategy I have argued for should often lead to relatively accurate judgments compared to random guessing. Woolley & Ghossainy. in an experimental setting usually there is an equal proportion of liars and truth-tellers). The account assumes that as individuating information becomes less diagnostic or absent. Consider a recent finding by Bond et al. people will make use of them to form their lie–truth judgments. 2004. people do not have a cognitive default to believe. as TDT would argue. Predictions of the ALIED account One of the advantages of ALIED is that it offers a number of predictions that can be tested. Please cite this article in press as: Street. then raters should rely on context-general information to make an informed guess. raters still incorporate less diagnostic behavioral information into their judgment.. This again offers a testable prediction of the account. and as arising from different underlying processes.. Levine et al. In the presence of highly diagnostic individuating cues. so too will the response bias.org/10.. But it can lead to wildly inaccurate judgments too. 2001) shows that accuracy increases as the base rate of honesty increases. 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.. ALIED: Humans as adaptive lie detectors. i. the use of context-general information increases. (iv) Although the strategies people use are adaptive and functional.g. Some further predictions may be garnered from Section 9. Even when a perfectly diagnostic cue is available in the form of incentives the speaker has for lying. 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.

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

T. Potentially subtle cues in the environment. Content in context improves deception detection accuracy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Anderson. Brosseau-Liard. & Thompson. people should pay attention to the lack of highly diagnostic individuating cues often this means a lack of cues indicating honesty.002 . Richardson and Alan Kingstone for their guidance.. Washington. family. Hospital staff must be careful not to give out sensitive information about a celebrity if a press reporter calls posing as a family member. McLeod. Communication Reports. (2010). M. B. but right now it is currently undergoing the largest reform in its history (Donoghue. Chicago. J. M. & Cooper. & Birch. (2012). A. Hansen. A. & Strack. (2012). Dechêne. J. B. P. Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge Daniel C. A. J. PLoS ONE. DC: Taylor & Francis. J. S. DePaulo. Cassels. This work was supported by Federal Canadian grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 19(18).uk/ publications/category/item/future-courts-a-new-vision-for-summary-justice. They have a magistrate system where lay members of the community act as volunteer judges on more minor offences such as theft. context-general information is liable to play a relatively large role. & DePaulo. Conclusion ALIED proposes that people attempt to make informed judgments when the individuating cues leave people unsure by relying on relevant context-general knowledge. Overlooking the obvious: Incentives to lie. to be aware of the basis of their judgment—whether it is the result of individuating cues or context-general cues. Charlton. For instance. K. unused shops. 423–442. V. Experimental Psychology. T. S. K. Anderson. (2005)..G Model JARMAC-182.. 14(2). (2014). Personality and Social Psychology Review. & Leventer. E. The conceptual framework of psychology. & R. Future courts: A new vision for summary justice. R.. & Burgoon.. 238–257. (2009).. In D. 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(1996). e108308. & Wänke. might interviewing a suspect or witness in the back of a police car lead to more guilt-presumptive questioning and expectations of deception. D. Studies of independence and conformity: I. compared to interviewing the same person in a more relaxed environment such as the suspect’s/witness’ own home? This is a particularly pressing issue in England and Wales presently. K. 10(3).doi. Jacobs (Eds. E.. 7 Conflict of interest statement The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Basic and Applied Social Psychology. The ALIED account proposes jurors and judges should be instructed that.N. Diamond.. & Birch. K. S.. and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Instead. S. J. A. 56(6). J. Wyer. False tagging theory: Toward a unitary account of prefrontal cortex function. if they must incorporate credibility. 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