Researchers Discuss Lying on Capitol Hill
On March 18, the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), APA and the National Communication Association co-sponsored a briefing on Capitol Hill entitled "Detecting Deception: Research to Secure the Homeland" featuring three prominent social scientists discussing deception research from a variety of different perspectives.
Dr. Judee Burgoon, Professor of Communication, Professor of Family Studies and Human Development, and Director of Human Communication Research for the Center for the Management of Information at the University of Arizona, presented "Automating Detection of Deception and Hostile Intent". Professor Burgoon reviewed research funded by the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and various intelligence agencies to study human deception, nonverbal communication, and detection technologies with a goal of automating the detection of deception. Much of that research focuses on identifying the availability of different cues in different modes of communication (e.g., evaluation of text vs. verbal behavior) that can be used to reveal deception.
Dr. Charles Bond, Professor of Psychology at Texas Christian University in Forth Worth, Texas, presented "International Deception", an area in which he has conducted cross-cultural comparisons of the ability of US, Indian and Jordanian citizens to judge truth-telling within their own culture as well as the other two. Additionally, he described on-going research he's conducting to examine the cues people use to judge whether someone is telling the truth across 75 nations and 42 languages.
Dr. Mark Frank, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, presented "Practical Approaches to Detecting Deception in Counter-Terrorism", much of which dealt with the analysis of "microexpressions", fleeting facial movements that are not under voluntary control and that betray unique emotions. Dr Frank described on-going research that is attempting to automate these analyses as well as procedures to train observers to detect the microexpressions in real time.
The briefing was well-attended by congressional staff from seven Senate and 17 House offices and committees, the Congressional Research Service, General Accounting Office, Department of Homeland Security, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and a variety of other organizations with interests in National and Homeland Security issues.