Automatic Detection of Verbal Deception

Automatic Detection of Verbal Deception

Eileen Fitzpatrick, Joan Bachenko, Tommaso Fornaciari
ISBN: 9781627053372 | PDF ISBN: 9781627053389
Copyright © 2015 | 120 Pages | Publication Date: September, 2015

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A growing field in computer applications is the use of algorithms to spot the lie. The most promising area within this field is the analysis of the language of the liar since speakers effectively control only the meaning they wish to convey, but not the linguistic style of the communication. With the advent of computational means to analyze language, we now have the ability to recognize differences in the way speakers phrase their lies as opposed to their truths.

The main goal of this book is to cover the advances of the last 10 years in automatically discriminating truths from lies. To give the reader a grounding in deception studies, it describes a range of behaviors (physiological, gestural as well as verbal) that have been proposed as indicators of deception. An overview of the primary psychological and cognitive theories that have been offered as explanations of deceptive behaviors gives context for the description of specific behaviors. The book also addresses the differences between data collected in a laboratory and "real-world" data with respect to the emotional and cognitive state of the liar.

It discusses sources of real-world data and problematic issues in its collection and identifies the primary areas in which applied studies based on real-world data are critical, including police, security, border crossing, customs, and asylum interviews; congressional hearings; financial reporting; legal depositions; human resource evaluation; predatory communications that include Internet scams, identity theft, fraud, and false product reviews. Having established the background, the book concentrates on computational analyses of deceptive verbal behavior, which have enabled the field of deception studies to move from individual cues to overall differences in behavior. The book concludes with a set of open questions that the computational work has generated.

Table of Contents

The Background Literature on Behavioral Cues to Deception
Data Sources
The Language of Deception: Computational Approaches
Open Questions
Authors' Biographies

About the Author(s)

Eileen Fitzpatrick, Montclair State University
Eileen Fitzpatrick is a professor in the Linguistics Department at Montclair State University. Previously she was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ. She has been the principal investigator on several Department of Defense contracts involving the annotation of narrative data and modeling of classifiers to predict deception. She is the author of papers on corpus building and modeling of deceptive narrative. Dr. Fitzpatrick served for six years on the Institutional Review Board at Montclair State, where she dealt with the privacy constraints on the collection of real world and laboratory data.

Joan Bachenko, LinguisTech LLC
Joan Bachenko is president of Linguistech LLC and serves as adjunct faculty in Linguistics at Montclair State University. Previously she worked on NLP and speech technology at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC and AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ. She left Bell Laboratories to co-found Linguistic Technologies, Inc. (LTI) in Minnesota, where she directed R&D projects on speech recognition systems for medical applications and served on the graduate faculty of the University of Minnesota. After the sale of LTI she began her current work on deception. Dr. Bachenko holds three software patents and has published papers on speech, parsing and deceptive language.

Tommaso Fornaciari, Italian National Police
Tommaso Fornaciari is an Investigative Psychologist with the Italian National Police. Since obtaining his PhD at the University of Trento, he has carried out research activities in forensic linguistics, publishing studies in which computational methods are employed with the aim of detecting deception in text and in transcripts of spoken language from criminal proceedings. He presently works at the Department of Public Security of the Italian Ministry of the Interior, engaged in research and technological innovation for public security. Prior to that, he worked at the Forensic Science Police Service, where he dealt with criminal analysis, mostly regarding violent murders.


Automatic Detection of Verbal Deception is a well-organized review of the literature and research on detecting deception with a focus on verbal indicators and linguistic behavior. This work addresses some of the issues associated with data collection relating to research on deception such as using real-world studies and establishing the ground truth of the truth, which has been a source of debate between researchers and practitioners in the field. This book is a good source for both academics and practitioners alike. Academics gain a history of the research in the field along with a trajectory where it is heading, and practitioners gain an understanding of the foundation of their training within the field of investigative statement analysis, NLP and detecting deception.
Wesley C. Clark, Connecticut State Police (Retired Detective Sergeant) & President of LIES, LLC Linguistic Interrogation Expert Services

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