CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Durante et al. on Assessing Truthfulness of Child Speech

Zane DuranteVictor ArdulovManoj KumarJennifer GongolaThomas D. Lyon and Shrikanth Narayanan (University of Southern California, University of Southern California, University of Southern California, USC Gould School of Law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law and University of Southern California) have posted Causal indicators for assessing the truthfulness of child speech in forensic interviews (Forthcoming in Computer Speech & Language) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
When interviewing a child who may have witnessed a crime, the interviewer
must ask carefully directed questions in order to elicit a truthful statement
from the child. The presented work uses Granger causal analysis to examine
and represent child-interviewer interaction dynamics over such an interview.
Our work demonstrates that Granger Causal analysis of psycholinguistic and
acoustic signals from speech yields significant predictors of whether a child
is telling the truth, as well as whether a child will disclose witnessing a
transgression later in the interview. By incorporating cross-modal Granger
causal features extracted from audio and transcripts of forensic interviews,
we are able to substantially outperform conventional deception detection
methods and a number of simulated baselines. Our results suggest that
a child's use of concreteness and imageability in their language are strong
psycholinguistic indicators of truth-telling and that the coordination of child
and interviewer speech signals is much more informative than the specific
language used throughout the interview.

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