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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Criminal Justice Quote: Interpreting Interrogation Room Body Language

     One of the most important transmitters of nonverbal behavior symptoms is the degree of eye contact maintained by the subject with the interrogator. Deceptive suspects generally do not look directly at the interrogator; they look down at the floor, over to the side, or up at the ceiling as if to beseech some divine guidance. They feel less anxiety if their eyes are focused somewhere other than on the interrogator; it is easier to lie while looking at the ceiling or the floor. Consequently, they either try to avoid eye contact with the interrogator by making compensatory moves or else they overact by staring at the interrogator in a challenging manner.

     Truthful suspects, on the other hand, are not defensive in their looks or actions, and can easily maintain eye contact with the interrogator. Even though they may be apprehensive, they show no concern about the credibility of their answers. Although attentive, their casual manner is unrestrained. They need no preparation because their answers are truthful.

Fred E. Inbau, Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, 1986

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