Author Biography

Dr. Iain Reid is a Research Support Officer within the Department of Cognitive Science, University of Malta. Iain’s Ph.D. research involved developing a holistic model of deception exploring the deception process from the deceiver, the strategies and tactics they utilize, to the processes involved in detecting deception and decision-making processes involved in deception-truth discrimination. Iain is currently working on EU funded Horizon2020 projects exploring community policing, fear of crime, risk perception, and community policing.

Lynsey Gozna is a psychologist working in the field of Applied and Forensic Psychology at the University of Leicester and in forensic practice in the UK. Lynsey has worked extensively with police forces and other agencies providing advice, training and consultancy in the areas of investigative interviewing and detecting deception, public protection, safeguarding and risk assessment, and child sexual exploitation. In addition she has conducted research in the areas of homicide prevention, kidnap, organized crime and firearms, multiple paraphilic interests and, most recently, revenge motivated criminal acts developing a practitioner model for use in secure and community forensic settings.

Julian Boon is a forensic psychologist who has worked with police in the UK and internationally as a psychological profiler and is currently an expert advisor to the National Crime Agency, UK. He has advised on hundreds of cases comprising arson, extortion, murder (sexual and non-sexual), sexual offences, child abuse, torture and modern slavery (sexual and non-sexual). His specialist area is in counter-terrorism and the psychological processes involved in radicalization and the nature of extremist and religious belief systems. His work to date has foci on the routes and roots of human personality, its development, and the contingent individual differences.



Subject Area Keywords

Intelligence analysis, Psychology


Deception detection has ubiquitously focussed upon detecting deceit in the individual, whether in national security, forensic or business-related environments. In contrast an understanding of how to identify deception committed by multiple individuals or groups challenging strategic interests has been neglected. In this article - to enhance understanding of practitioners working across security, intelligence and forensic areas - a process of psychological synthesis is advocated. Psychological synthesis incorporates a multitude of approaches reflecting contextual requirements towards deception detection across verbal/linguistic behavior, non-verbal behavior, online interactions and intelligence analysis approaches. These combined with in-depth understanding of individuals’ cultures, personality and manner of presentation can be understood in challenging environments. Juxtaposed to these factors psychological synthesis considers how intelligence, surveillance and evidence may be used in detecting deception and identifying links between individuals engaging in deception and related activities. An illustration of how such an approach may work is provided through a scenario of a terrorist incident and how a tailored deception detection approach may seek to counter such a threat.