Developing a narrative theory of deception for the analysis of mock-Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) accounts

Moffett, Lee; Oxburgh, Gavin; Dresser, Paul and Gabbert, Fiona. 2024. Developing a narrative theory of deception for the analysis of mock-Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) accounts. The Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles, ISSN 0032-258X [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

Human source intelligence (HUMINT) practitioners are concerned with detecting informant deception, and previous research indicates that the verbal content of an informant’s narrative can be used to identify potential deceit. The current study extends previous research by analysing the narrative structure and narrative identity of accounts provided by 22 participants undertaking the role of a mock-informant. Results indicate that deception affects the structure of a mock-informant narrative, with deceptive mock-informants employing abstract introductions and evaluative remarks to withhold information and to distract their listeners with emotional content. Additionally, deceptive mock-informants are more likely to express a low potency narrative role, such as a victim or tragic hero. Furthermore, there is tentative evidence to suggest that an analysis of narrative identity can also provide an indication of varying levels of motivation and cooperation among truthful mock-informants. These findings have implications for HUMINT practitioners in the field and add to the wider body of deception detection research.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Human source intelligence covert human intelligence sources narrative structure analysis narrative identity analysis detecting deception

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Forensic Psychology Unit


5 February 2024Accepted
12 February 2024Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Mar 2024 09:23

Last Modified:

27 Mar 2024 09:32

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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