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Effectiveness of content analysis in assessing suspect credibility: Counterterrorism implications

Grace Hui-Yi Chang, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Law enforcement agencies frequently augment their investigative approaches such as credibility assessment, interviewing strategies, and surveillance to enhance their operational activity efforts. This paper explores prior literature that addressed the reliability of law enforcement professionals in detecting deception and examines content analysis, specifically, as a credibility assessment tool in differentiating deceitful from truthful statements within an investigative context. ^ A review of prior research (e.g., Masip, Sporer, Garrido, & Herrero, 2005; Porter & Yuille, 1996; Vrij, 2000) reveals lack of standardization of content analysis approaches. The aim of this study is to further examine the relationship between content criteria and the type of written statements (truthful vs. deceptive). The results of this study found a significant relationship between selected content criteria and the type of written statement. Several content criteria were related to deceptive written statements including improper use of pronouns, use of connections, out of sequence information, unimportant information, denial of allegations, and quoted discourse. Deceptive statements tended to have a higher mean total number of content criteria endorsed. Furthermore, within the body of these statements the deceptive group tended to have a higher mean number of written lines for the prologue and criminal incident sections. Secondary analyses were conducted to assess the association between the different groups (Validated/Inconclusive vs. Cleared and Suspects vs. Non-Suspects) and content criteria. Details regarding these findings and their implications are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

Chang, Grace Hui-Yi, "Effectiveness of content analysis in assessing suspect credibility: Counterterrorism implications" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3315323.