The "good cop, bad cop" effect in the rt-based concealed information test: Exploring the effect of emotional expressions displayed by a virtual investigator

  • M. V
  • G. V
  • M. M
  • et al.
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Abstract

Concealing the possession of relevant information represents a complex cognitive process, shaped by contextual demands and individual differences in cognitive and socio-emotional functioning. The Reaction Time-based Concealed Information Test (RT-CIT) is used to detect concealed knowledge based on the difference in RTs between denying recognition of critical (probes ) and newly encountered (irrelevant) information. Several research questions were addressed in this scenario implemented after a mock crime. First, we were interested whether the introduction of a social stimulus (facial identity) simulating a virtual investigator would facilitate the process of deception detection. Next, we explored whether his emotional displays (friendly, hostile or neutral) would have a differential impact on speed of responses to probe versus irrelevant items. We also compared the impact of introducing similar stimuli in a working memory (WM) updating context without requirements to conceal information. Finally, we explored the association between deceptive behavior and individual differences in WMupdating proficiency or in internalizing problems (state / trait anxiety and depression). Results indicated that the mere presence of a neutral virtual investigator slowed down participants' responses, but not the appended lie-specific time (difference between probes and irrelevants). Emotional expression was shown to differentially affect speed of responses to critical items, with positive displays from the virtual examiner enhancing lie-specific time, compared to negative facial expressions, which had an opposite impact. This valence-specific effect was not visible in theWM updating context. Higher levels of trait / state anxiety were related to faster responses to probes in the negative condition (hostile facial expression) of the RT-CIT. These preliminary findings further emphasize the need to take into account motivational and emotional factors when considering the transfer of deception detection techniques from the laboratory to real-life settings.

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M., V., G., V.-P., M., M., & L., V.-P. (2015). The “good cop, bad cop” effect in the rt-based concealed information test: Exploring the effect of emotional expressions displayed by a virtual investigator. PLoS ONE, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0116087

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