It is difficult to accurately detect lies. Lie detectors that work by measuring the level of anxiety of a subject while answering questions are theoretically weak and questionable credibility
As any traveler who has been questioned by customs officials knows, it is possible to feel anxious without being guilty.
Scientists have developed a new approach to detecting liars based on interviewing style and psychological manipulation
These results were published in Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. (source)
The method is part of a new generation of perception-based polygraph methods that are increasingly researched and developed. These methods assume that the mental and strategic processes that tellers of truth adopt during interviews are significantly different from those of liars. With specific techniques, these differences can be amplified and explored.
One such approach is the Asymmetric Information Management (AIM) technique. At its core, it is designed to provide suspects with a clear means to show their innocence or guilt to investigators by providing detailed information.
Small details are the lifeblood of forensic investigations and can provide investigators with facts to check and witnesses to question
Importantly, longer, more detailed statements typically contain more clues to a deception than short statements.
Basically, suspects are informed of these facts. Specifically, the interviewers explain that if they provide longer and more detailed data about the event of interest, the investigator will be better able to discover whether they are telling the truth or lying.
In fact, research shows that when suspects are provided with these instructions, they act differently depending on whether or not they are telling the truth. Truth-telling people usually strive to prove their innocence and generally provide more detailed information in response to these instructions.
In contrast, liars wish to conceal their guilt. This means they are more likely to strategically withhold information in response to the AIM instructions
Their (totally correct) assumption here is that providing more information will make it easier for the investigator to detect their lie, so instead, they provide less information.
if the investigator is presented with a potential suspect who is providing lots of detailed information, they are likely to be telling the truth. In contrast, if the potential suspect is lying then the investigator would typically be presented with shorter statements.
How effective is this approach?
research on the AIM technique has been promising. For our study, we recruited 104 people who were sent on one of two covert missions to different locations in a university to retrieve and/or deposit intelligence material.
Then all of the people interviewed were told of a data breach in their absence. So they were suspects and faced an interview with an independent analyst. Half of them were told telling the truth about their mission to convince the interviewer of their innocence. The other half was told that they could not reveal any information about their mission, and that they had to come up with a cover story about where they were at the time and place of the breach to convince the analyst of their innocence.
They were then interviewed, and the AIM technique was used in half of the cases. We found that when the AIM technique was used, it was easier for the interviewer to spot liars. In fact, lie-detection accuracy rates increased from 48% (no AIM) to 81% – with truth-tellers providing more information.