Concealed Information Test

Nathalie klein Selle, Bruno Verschuere, Gershon Ben-Shakhar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


After sixdecades of research it has been well established that physiological measures can validly detect concealed memories. However, the exact theoretical underpinnings of concealed information testing remain to be elucidated. In the present chapter we review the various theoretical accounts of the Concealed Information Test (CIT) effect and discuss their development over time. We start with several unitary theories that each focus on a single emotional-motivational factor. As it appeared that such factors have little impact on the CIT, cognitive factors became the early focus of examination. The orienting response theory in particular has dominated the field for years. Although evidence suggests that orienting theory may well apply to the skin conductance measure, it may not fully explain physiological reactivity in the CIT for other response measures such as respiration and heart rate (HR). Hence, a response fractionation model that suggests that the skin conductance measure reflects orienting and the respiration and HR measures reflect attempts at arousal inhibition was proposed. Future work is needed to validate this model and test whether it holds under real-life circumstances. Furthermore, more research is needed to examine the underlying mechanisms of other physiological and behavioral measures.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDetecting Concealed Information and Deception
Subtitle of host publicationRecent Developments
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780128127292
ISBN (Print)9780128127308
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Concealed Information Test
  • Inhibition
  • Orienting
  • Response fractionation
  • Theory


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