- Theory of the Concealed Information Test
- Book title
- Memory Detection: Theory and application of the concealed information test
- Pages (from-to)
- Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
It is now well established that physiological measures can be validly used to detect concealed information. An important challenge is to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of concealed information detection. We review theoretical approaches that can be broadly classified in two major categories: Theories that emphasize emotional-motivational factors, and those that emphasize cognitive factors. While emotional-motivational factors do not appear to be necessary for the detection of concealed information, they may enhance discriminability. Research with realistic setups is needed to examine whether emotional-motivational factors may exert a more prominent role in real-life concealed information tests compared with those performed under laboratory conditions. Empirical research largely supports the cognitive approaches and particularly Orienting Response (OR) theory, which can explain most of the research findings related to the concealed information test (CIT). Future work needs to test whether OR theory holds under real-life circumstances, and whether OR theory needs to incorporate other processes (e.g., response inhibition) to fully account for the differential physiological responding to the relevant items in the CIT.
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