Expert Q&A With

Ray Bull

Professor Ray Bull is Director of Postgraduate Courses in Forensic Psychology at the University of Leicester. His major research interest is the investigative interviewing of suspects, witnesses and victims. Professor Bull conducts research on witness memory, including voice recognition.


2010 “Elected by acclaim” an Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society “for the contribution made to the discipline of psychology”.

2010 Received from the Scientific Committee of the Fourth International Conference on Investigative Interviewing a “Special Prize” for his “extensive contributions to investigative interviewing”.

2009 Received from the 'International Investigative Interviewing Research Group' the “Senior Academic Award” for his “significant lifetime contribution to the field of investigative interviewing”.

2008 Received from the European Association of Psychology and Law an “Award for Life-time Contribution to Psychology and Law”.

2008 Received from the British Psychological Society the “Award for Distinguished Contributions to Academic Knowledge in Forensic Psychology”.

2005 Received a Commendation from the London Metropolitan Police for “Innovation and professionalism whilst assisting a complex rape investigation”.

What is your background in Lie Detection?

I am a Professor of Forensic Psychology whose main expertise relates to the conducting of investigations. In that role I have co-authored research publications and other forms of documents to do with deception detection.

How accurate is the polygraph in detecting deception?


Click Here to read a relevant report published by the British Psychological Society.

What is the physiological response to telling a ‘high stakes lie’?

This can be no different from telling the truth in the same 'situation'.

How do you combat against a wrongful confession?

By interviewing properly in the first place using the 'PEACE' approach that has been developed in England over the last 20 years.

What influenced you to pursue a career in behavioural science/lie detection?

When I went to university in 1967 I decided to study a 'discipline (i.e. psychology) that used good methodological rigour to help society/people.

Is there a way of differentiating between truthful and imagined memories?

Not at the moment - research on 'reality monitoring' an other procedures suggests that this might be achievable around 70% of the time (when chance = 50%).

What advice would you give someone who is considering studying with yourself at Leicester University?

To contact me with a copy of their CV and an outline of what they are interested in studying.

What would you say are the biggest myths associated with lie detection?

That it will ever be achievable beyond around 80% accuracy (when chance = 50%).

Learn More

Essential Reading

Investigative Interviewing Book

Book Details

Investigative interviewing, and the information obtained from witnesses and victims, plays a vital role in criminal investigations. This comprehensive handbook explores current developments taking place in this rapidly developing field.

  • An authoritative handbook created by prestigious editors and an international team of recognised authors.
  • International in its focus - the book assesses current developments taking place in several countries.
  • Takes a holistic approach to the process by including sections on eyewitness identification and evaluating truthfulness.

See following link for full details.

Handbook of Psychology of Investigative Interviewing: Current Developments and Future Directions

Click Here for details of Professor Bull's publications.

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