Roach, Jason, Pease, Ken and Clegg, kate (2011) Stars in Their Lies: How Better to Identify People Who Give False Dates of Birth to Police. Policing: a Journal of Policy and Practice, 5 (1). pp. 56-64. ISSN 1752-4520

Abstract This article identifies the cognitive processes associated with constructing a false date of birth (DoB) and
explores how this might be used to identify and trace those who give a false DoB to police. A particular focus here is
with asking people for their zodiac ‘star’ sign as part of an identification and verification process. A quasi-experimental
research design was employed where 129 students were asked first to generate a false DoB, then a corresponding zodiac
sign, subsequently describing the cognitive processes involved. The findings suggest that when generating a false DoB,
people tend to either simply add/subtract one year, or add/subtract one month from their real DoB. When asked
to give a corresponding zodiac sign for the false DoB given roughly 50% of people will fail this task. It is argued here
that these findings should provide police with a way of tracing the putative offender from the false DoB they give
as well as being able to identify date-of-birth liars face-to-face by simply asking them to provide a corresponding
zodiac sign.

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