In Scriptura Veritas? Exploring Measures for Identifying Increased Cognitive Load in Speaking and Writing

Kajsa Gullberg, Victoria Johansson, Roger Johansson

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This study aims to establish a methodological framework for investigating deception in both spoken and written language production. A foundational premise is that the production of deceitful narratives induces a heightened cognitive load that has a discernable influence on linguistic processes during real-time language production. This study includes meticulous analysis of spoken and written data from two participants who told truthful and deceitful narratives. Spoken processes were captured through audio recordings and subsequently transcribed, while written processes were recorded using keystroke logging, resulting in final texts and corresponding linear representations of the writing activity. By grounding our study in a linguistic approach for understanding cognitive load indicators in language production, we demonstrate how linguistic processes, such as text length, pauses, fluency, revisions, repetitions, and reformulations can be used to capture instances of deception in both speaking and writing. Additionally, our findings underscore that markers of cognitive load are likely to be more discernible and more automatically measured in the written modality. This suggests that the collection and examination of writing processes have substantial potential for forensic applications. By highlighting the efficacy of analyzing both spoken and written modalities, this study provides a versatile methodological framework for studying deception during language production, which significantly enriches the existing forensic toolkit.
Translated title of the contributionIn Scriptura Veritas? : En undersökning av mått för att identifiera ökad kognitiv belastning i tal och skrift
Original languageEnglish
Article number85
Number of pages85
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2024-Feb-29

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics (60201)


  • keystroke logging
  • forensic linguistics
  • fluency
  • disfluency
  • pauses
  • revisions
  • planning
  • language production


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