Effects of mental countermeasures on psychophysiological detection in the guilty knowledge test

Eitan Elaad, Gershon Ben-Shakhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study focused on the effects of mental countermeasures on psychophysiological detection in a guilty knowledge paradigm. Two experiments which utilized a 3 X 2 between subjects factorial design were conducted. Two types of mental countermeasures (specific dissociations from the relevant stimulus and continuous dissociation throughout the entire test, as well as a control-no countermeasure condition were used). Each group was further subdivided into two conditions - a high attention condition created by motivational instructions and a deceptive verbal response to the relevant question; and a low attention condition in which no motivational instructions were provided and no verbal response was required. The results of both experiments (one was conducted in a field set up, and the other utilized more standard experimental equipment and measurement procedures) revealed the following pattern: the item-specific countermeasures tended to increase psychophysiological detection, whereas the continuous dissociations tended to decrease detection efficiencies. The pattern was consistent across attention conditions and experiments but it was stronger in the field experiment where overall detection efficiency was relatively high. In other respects the present results replicated previous findings and revealed a significant effect for the attention factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Detection of deception
  • Guilty knowledge test
  • Mental countermeasure
  • Polygraph
  • Skin resistance


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