Effects of Motivation and Verbal Response Type on Psychophysiological Detection of Information

Eitan Elaad, Gershon Ben‐Shakhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two independent experiments were designed to investigate the effects of motivation to deceive and the type of verbal response on psychophysiological detection using the Guilty Knowledge Technique. The first was a field experiment in which 72 subjects were randomly assigned to 8 experimental conditions. These conditions were created by a 2 × 4 factorial design (two motivational states crossed with four verbal response modes‐affirming, denying, repeating, or no verbal response to questions about personal information). The second experiment was a laboratory experiment in which 160 students were assigned to the same 8 conditions. Results of both experiments indicated that highly motivated subjects were detected better than less motivated subjects. The act of lying was associated with enhanced differential responsivity, but no effects were obtained for verbal response versus no response or for variable versus standard verbal response. Differential responsivity tended to decline when questions were repeated. The first experiment revealed a clear advantage of electrodermal measures over respiration and cardiovascular measures. The results were discussed in relation to previous findings, a new theoretical formulation, and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-451
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Detection of deception
  • Guilty Knowledge Technique
  • Polygraph


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