Psychopathy and nonverbal indicators of deception in offenders

Law Hum Behav. 2007 Aug;31(4):337-51. doi: 10.1007/s10979-006-9063-7. Epub 2006 Oct 21.


The current study examined psychopathy and nonverbal indicators of deception in an incarcerated sample. Nonverbal behaviors were coded from videotapes of 45 male offenders telling true and fabricated stories about crimes. Interpersonal features of psychopathy were associated with inflated views of lying ability, verbosity, and increases in blinking, illustrator use, and speech hesitations. While lying, the more psychopathic offenders spoke faster and demonstrated increases in blinking and head movements. Indicators of deception in offenders were somewhat different from those typically observed in non-offender populations. These findings indicate that personality factors may have an impact on nonverbal indicators of deception in criminal justice settings where the detection of deception is of utmost concern.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • British Columbia
  • Crime
  • Deception*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Nonverbal Communication*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Psychopathology*