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NCJ Number: 200620 Find in a Library
Title: Police Officers' and Students' Beliefs About Telling and Detecting Trivial and Serious Lies
Journal: International Journal of Police Science and Management  Volume:5  Issue:1  Dated:Spring 2003  Pages:41-49
Author(s): Aldert Vrij; Rachel Taylor
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses beliefs about telling and detecting trivial and serious lies.
Abstract: Two groups of participants, students, and police officers were asked to fill out a short questionnaire. A total of 106 participants took part in the study: 52 police officers and 54 college students. Two factors were manipulated in the questionnaire, the "type of lie" and "who lies." Several variables, such as frequency of occurrence, percentage of lies that remain undetected, mental effort, and nervousness, were examined. It was hypothesized that people would think that their own lies would remain more frequently undetected than lies told by other people, and that this tendency would be stronger in police officers than in students. Results revealed that participants did report that trivial lies occur more frequently than serious lies and that serious lies cause more distress and require more mental effort than trivial lies. Despite these differences in mental effort and distress between these two types of lies, many participants believed that liars will give both trivial and serious lies away via the content of their answer or via their behavior. It appears that most participants overestimated the occurrence of verbal and non-verbal indicators of deception when people tell trivial lies. Regarding the frequency of occurrence of lying, participants believed they tell on average 14 lies a week (little and serious lies combined). Results suggest that participants overestimated their ability to detect lies. Participants did not think they were better than others in avoiding non-verbal cues to deception when lying, that is, they thought that it was less likely that the content of the answer will give their own lie away than a lie told by somebody else. The study did not reveal a single difference between students and police officers. Police officers were not better at differentiating between trivial and serious lies. 3 tables, 3 notes, 18 references
Main Term(s): Police attitudes; Police research
Index Term(s): Data collections; Police department surveys; Police personnel; Police work attitudes; Research; Work attitudes
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