Item Details

Indicators of veracity and deception: an analysis of written statements made to police

Issue: Vol 13 No. 1 (2006)

Journal: International Journal of Speech Language and the Law

Subject Areas: Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/sll.2006.13.1.1


This work examines linguistic and structural features present in written criminal statements for predictive value in determining the likelihood of veracity or deception. Statements written by suspects and victims identified through the investigation of criminal incidents serve as the base of data. Support was found for a positive relationship between deception and the attributes of equivocation, negation and relative length of the prologue. A positive relationship was also found between veracity and unique sensory details. Weak support was found for a relationship between veracity and emotions in the epilogues. Using a logistic regression model, 82.1 per cent of the statements were correctly classified as containing veracity or deception. The most significant predictor of veracity was unique sensory details, while the most significant predictor of deception was relative length of the prologues.

Author: Susan H. Adams, John P. Jarvis

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