Journal of
Media and Communication Studies

  • Abbreviation: J. Media Commun. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2545
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMCS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 224


Accurate expert deception detection: Faulty premises in Vrij et al. (2015)

Timothy R. Levine
  • Timothy R. Levine
  • Department of Communication Studies, University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States.
  • Google Scholar
J. Pete Blair
  • J. Pete Blair
  • Department of Criminal Justice Texas State University United States.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 24 July 2017
  •  Accepted: 04 January 2018
  •  Published: 28 February 2018


This essay is a rejoinder to a commentary by Vrij et al. (2015) that was critical of Levine et al.’s (2014) experiments showing exceptionally high deception detection accuracy by expert interrogators. We contend that highly accurate deception detection is possible under conditions where contextualized communication content is diagnostic and where an interrogator is allowed to actively solicit honest confessions. Such conditions are often met outside the lab. Vrij et al. dismiss our findings as methodological artifact. They argue that we did not demonstrate expertise because the task was so easy that anyone could perform to perfection. This essay shows that the premises of Vrij et al.’s arguments are false and their arguments falter as a result.  High accuracy is possible with skilled expert interrogation.

Key words: Lies, deception, confessions.