Forensic Linguistics Finds the Truth

December 07, 2010

When Lorna Fadden received her PhD, she entered the specialized field of forensic linguistics.

Her PhD research was on linguistic patterns in police interviews, and since then, she’s gone on to do more work in the legal system.

Her most recent case involved determining whether a set of text messages sent before a deadly car accident could be seen as suicide notes. (They weren’t.) The ongoing investigation will determine the course of  a young woman’s life.

In another case, she studied a menacing letter which was sent to a company’s board of directors. She performed the linguistic analysis in collaboration with a document analyst who performed handwriting and paper analysis. They were able to match the author of the menacing letter with emails sent by a vice president of that company.

She says, “It’s an interesting time to come out of grad school. In the past, new PhDs became professors. Today, we can straddle academic and professional worlds, finding innovative ways to put research in practice.”

Dr. Fadden’s future research is into the language of internet luring.

For more information:

  1. Linguistic cues catch deceivers, not liars
  2. The Prosody of Suspects’ Responses During Police Interviews
  3. Lorna Fadden’s research page
  4. Lorna Fadden’s consulting company
  5. Vancouver Sun: “B.C. Corrections using ‘truth verification’ device to screen job applicants Read more:
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