January 21st 2019, proposals were released in the UK about reforming the way domestic abuse is handled (for example see Guardian article). One of the recommendations is the use of the polygraph to examine the truthfulness of the statements of offenders. I contributed to a radio documentary on this topic for the BBC radio program World at One (UK; my contribution is from 36.40 onwards).
In October 2018, I gave an interview to the BBC to explain the benefits and disadvantages of lie detection using a polygraph. Other experts who contributed to the article are professor Aldert Vrij and Don Grubin.
BBC Horizon Documentary: A week without lying, the honesty experiment
In collaboration with production company Thoroughly Modern Media, Ronald Poppe, Paul Taylor, Gordon Wright and I set up a real-world experiment testing real world lie detection and the challenges of living truthfully. The documentary was broadcast on BBC 2 on Wednesday the 29th of August 2018, as part of their Horizon Science series. Before broadcasting, the Sunday Times announced the documentary as their critics’ choice to watch. The documentary received international media coverage, including a TV item by the ONE show and several radio items including Met het oog op morgen (NL), de wereld van Sofie (Belgium,) and Rabbering Laat (NL). We also gave several interviews to newspapers, including Het Algemeen Dagblad (NL), RTL nieuws (NL), Humo (Belgian), and De Standaard (Belgian). Reviews of the documentary were written by The Guardian (UK), The Times (UK), and The Telegraph (UK).
Nomination Dutch Research Talent 2018
For my research on deception detection and dishonest behavior, I have been nominated for the New Scientist Research Talent of the year competition. First, each university and research institute in the Netherlands and Flanders were allowed to select 3 candidates who received their PhD after January first, 2012. These candidates were subsequently judged on their scientific impact, societal impact, the novelty of their research and ability to gain attention for his or her field of study. New scientist then selected 25 candidates, who competed against each other for votes in a public voting round. The final five candidates presented their research during the finals in front of a large crowd at Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht, on the 31st of May 2018. I was one of the final 25 candidates and several media covered my deception research during the period, including a TV interview by Open Rotterdam (Dutch), coverage by Erasmus University and Erasmus School of Economics, and an interview by Erasmus Magazine.
Motion-based lie detection
In the autumn of 2018, a BBC Horizon Science Documentary will be broadcast about our research on automatically detecting deception based on body movements (based on “To freeze or not to freeze” and “mining bodily cues to deception” papers). Together with Decepticon Conference, this research also formed the basis for a Curiosity Stream Documentary, and received a significant amount of international media attention, including TV interviews and shows such as NOS op 3, Klaas kan alles, BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow, Fox News, Zoomin TV, WNL Vandaag TV, Dailymotion, and RTL Boulevard TV.
Our motion-based lie detection research also received radio coverage on BBC World Radio, BBC Radio 4, BBC The Naked Scientists, Radio538, BNR, and Radio 2, and was covered by several national and international newspapers, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Cambridge News, King’s Parade, The Register Mail & Guardian, Trouw, NRC, Algemeen Dagblad, Volkskrant, KIJK, 7days, RTV Utrecht, De Morgen en Het Laatste Nieuws. In addition, our research was mentioned on websites such as Bruce Schneier’s Blog, International Business Times, Computer World UK, Engadget, Techie News, PC World, MyScience, Lancaster University, King’s College Cambridge, and as an Xsens Customer Case.
Concealed Information Test
My most recent study on identifying sensitive information using the Searching Concealed Information Test (sCIT) was covered in the magazine Human. In this study, participants had to plan and carry out a mock terrorist attack in groups of three participants. We investigated whether we could identify both which participant fulfilled which role (planner, accomplish, or perpetrator), and which attack decision they had made (which target, which bomb, which location).
Deception and truthfulness
Since the inauguration of President Trump in the US, I have given interviews to several magazines and news papers about Trump’s tendency to make incorrect claims, including an interview to the Algemeen Dagblad.
Our Frontiers in Psychology paper “When lying feels the right thing to do” received media attention on popular websites Psychology Today, Psych Central, Frontiers Blog and Science Daily. It was in the top 10 most read Psychology papers in June 2016.
Previously, I have also given an interview for BBC radio 4 about identity theft, featured in Stephen Fry’s radio documentary “Words fail me” about the emotional side of lying, and was interviewed for several TV programs on deception and truthfulness, including a TV special on the ideal liar by De Kennis Van Nu.