Psychopathy and physiological detection of concealed information: A review

Bruno Verschuere, Geert Crombez, Ernst H. W. Koster, Katarzyna Uzieblo

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17 Citations (Scopus)


The Concealed Information Test has been advocated as the preferred method for deception detection using the polygraph ("lie detector"). The Concealed Information Test is argued to be a standardised, highly accurate psychophysi-ological test founded on the orienting reflex. The validity of polygraph tests for the assessment of psychopathic individuals has, however, been questioned. Two dimensions are said to underlie psychopathy: emotional detachment and antisocial behaviour. Distinct psychophysiological correlates are hypothesised in these facets of psychopathy. Emotional detachment is associated with deficient fear-potentiated startle, and antisocial behaviour with reduced orienting. Few studies have examined the effect of psychopathy on the validity of the Concealed Information Test. This review suggests that reduced orienting in high antisocial individuals is also found in the Concealed Information Test, thereby threatening its validity. Implications for criminal investigations, possible solutions and directions for future research will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
JournalPsychologica Belgica
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • psychopathy
  • lie detection
  • concealed information

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