Coral Dando, Professor of Psychology at the University of Westminster, drew upon her own research to comment on the recent announcement that passengers flying from certain countries to the US or UK would not be allowed to take a laptop in their hand luggage due to security measures.

In the article Professor Dando shared results from a collaborative research project she has conducted with Tom Ormerod, using an interview-based profiling technique at airports, which revealed that airport staff were 20 times more effective in identifying the planted mock passengers when conducting interviews than when using behavioural indicators.

Referring to universal body signs, which are usually considered to manifest any signs of nervousness, Professor Dando said: “They may exist on an individual level, but they don’t exist in general, across a population, because we all behave physically differently when we are being deceptive. We concentrated on the one thing that is fairly consistent, and that is people’s speech: what people said, the way in which they said it and the consistency of the story they told.”

She then elaborated on the managed conversation, or controlled cognitive engagement (CCE) by saying that it was designed to make the conversation easy for truth tellers but as difficult as possible for those trying to lie and explained that questions are specifically tailored for the suspect, including ones about their past.

Asked whether the CCE technique has been adopted by airports, Coral Dando said she is about to work with an airline in one of the countries affected by the current concerns. She added: “We worked with two partner American carriers, and sadly it seems that unless they’re going to be told to do it by the [US] Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security, they’ve decided not to bother, which is unfortunate, but there’s a cost involved, I guess.”

Read the whole article on The Guardian.

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