Mapping the Lie: A Smallest Space Analysis of Truthful and Deceptive Mock-informant Accounts.

Lee Moffett*, Gavin Oxburgh, Paul Dresser, Fiona Gabbert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Detecting informant deception is a key concern for law enforcement officers, with implications for resource-management, operational decision-making, and protecting officers from risk of harm. However, the situational dilemma of a police informant, otherwise known as a Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS), is unique. Informants are tasked to obtain information about the transgressive actions or intentions of their associates, knowing they will later disclose this information to a handler. Thus, techniques for detecting deception in other forensic scenarios may not be transferrable to an informant interview. Utilising truthful and deceptive transcripts from a unique mock-informant role play paradigm, Smallest Space Analysis was used to map the co-occurrence of content themes. Results found that deceptive content frequently co-occurred with emotive and low-potency content themes. This provides support for the future analysis of verbal content when seeking to detect informant deception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-532
Number of pages20
JournalThe Police Journal
Issue number3
Early online date20 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


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