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Comparing the effectiveness of different test paradigms in the detection of concealed information

Sommerkamp-Homann, Alexander (2019) Comparing the effectiveness of different test paradigms in the detection of concealed information. Research Project 2 (major thesis), Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences.


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The concealed information test is a powerful forensic instrument used to detect incriminating knowledge in crime suspects. Recently, researchers have increasingly based detection on a combination of event-related brain potentials and galvanic skin response yielding incremental validity. The optimal conditions for these two measurements, however, are thought to differ, particularly regarding inter-stimulus interval length, complicating the construction of tests with simultaneous recordings. Furthermore, in standard test paradigms verbal or pictorial representations of the respective crime details (i.e. targets) are used, and presented singularly between distractor stimuli. Also, it is unclear whether distractors accidentally resembling details of the crime scene undermine the discriminatory potential of the procedure and how stable individual response differences are over time, relevant to the exclusion of prospective inadequate responders. Nineteen students participated in a pseudo-randomized study with a within-subjects design, investigating the use of the objects encountered during a mock crime as targets and the use of all-target sequences, and comparing different inter-stimulus interval lengths as well as distractors with resemblance to the mock crime scene to distractors without. While partial support for the overall detection of concealed information and for the stability of individual response differences over time was found, data quality issues constrained the extend of the analyses and no other hypotheses were statistically confirmed. Several factors possibly underlying the limited significance of the findings and scope of the analyses are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Project 2 (major thesis))
Supervisor nameSupervisor E mail
Degree programme: Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences
Thesis type: Research Project 2 (major thesis)
Language: English
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2019
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2019 09:06

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