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Scalable interrogation : Eliciting human pheromone responses to deception in a security interview setting

Stedmon, AW; Eachus, P; Baillie, L; Tallis, H; Donkor, R; Edlin-White, R; Bracewell, R


AW Stedmon

L Baillie

H Tallis

R Donkor

R Edlin-White

R Bracewell


Individuals trying to conceal knowledge from interrogators are likely to experience raised levels of stress that can manifest itself across biological, physiological, psychological and behavioural factors, providing an opportunity for detection. Using established research paradigms an innovative scalable interrogation was designed in which participants were given a ‘token’ that represented information they had to conceal from interviewers. A control group did not receive a token and therefore did not have to deceive the investigators. The aim of this investigation was to examine differences between deceivers and truth-tellers across the four factors by collecting data for cortisol levels, sweat samples, heart-rate, respiration, skin temperature, subjective stress ratings and video and audio recordings. The results provided an integrated understanding of responses to interrogation by those actively concealing information and those acting innocently. Of particular importance, the results also suggest, for the first time in an interrogation setting, that stressed individuals may secrete a volatile steroid based marker that could be used for stand-off detection. The findings are discussed in relation to developing a scalable interrogation protocol for future research in this area.


Stedmon, A., Eachus, P., Baillie, L., Tallis, H., Donkor, R., Edlin-White, R., & Bracewell, R. (2015). Scalable interrogation : Eliciting human pheromone responses to deception in a security interview setting. Applied Ergonomics, 47, 26-33.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 13, 2014
Online Publication Date Sep 19, 2014
Publication Date Mar 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jun 12, 2015
Journal Applied Ergonomics
Print ISSN 0003-6870
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Pages 26-33
Publisher URL
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