Teaching Students About Classic Findings on the Detection of Deception

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2003

Publication Title

Teaching of Psychology


I describe a classroom exercise that demonstrates people's inability to detect deception better than chance. In the exercise, students worked in pairs and took turns asking each other a series of questions. Students lied to their partners some of the time, and they in turn attempted to determine when their partners lied to them. Students also reported their degree of confidence in their lie detection abilities. The results consistently replicated classic findings in this area of research. In addition, students who participated in this exercise retained the knowledge gained from their participation for 6 to 30 months. I discuss the courses in which this exercise might be useful.


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