Interview and Interrogation Training: Eyes Don’t Mean Lies

WZ / IAI Interviewing Tip of the Week

This week’s International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip provided by Wicklander-Zulawski, has Chris Norris, CFI, director of WZ Europe and International Training, talking about eye movement.

Often, in classes, I get people who come to me and ask, “Hey is it true that if the subject’s eyes go up and to the left, that means they’re telling the truth, and if they go to the right, they have to be lying?”

That’s not how eye movement and eye accessing works.

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I will say there’s great value in understanding what the up, down, left, and right eye movements might mean to us in the context of an interview, but to be able to associate this particular eye motion means truth, while this other one means deception, is not accurate at all.

What’s very important in understanding eye accessing is the first rules of behavior, and that is understanding normal behavior patterns and establishing a behavioral norm by asking very simple biographical questions.

During the early process of the interview, I can establish a great deal of both verbal and nonverbal behaviors, including eye movements, and understand what certain eye movements might mean based on the timing of those movements.

Moving forward during the interview, what becomes very important is asking thought-provoking questions. By asking thought-provoking questions, then I might get some eye movement from my subject that becomes very important to me in evaluating and understanding how they’re formulating their responses to the questions that I’m asking.

One thing we can’t confuse, though, is that we can’t associate eye movements as being related to the truth, or to deception. After all, there’s no single behavior symptom that we associate with being either truth or deception.


Every loss prevention investigator should strive to enhance their investigative interviewing skills as part of an ongoing commitment to best-in-class interviewing performance. This includes holding ourselves to an elite standard of interview and interrogation training that is ethical, moral and legal while demanding excellence in the pursuit of the truth. The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) and Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ) provide interview and interrogation training programs and additional guidance to investigators when dealing with dishonest employees, employee theft, sexual harassment, policy violations, building rapport, pre-employment interviewing, lying, denials and obtaining a statement.

By focusing on the latest information and research from experts in the field as well as academia, legal and psychological resources, these video tips provide interview and interrogation training techniques that can enhance the skill sets of professionals with backgrounds in law enforcement, loss prevention, security, asset protection, human resources, auditors, or anyone looking to obtain the truth.

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