Sleight of hand: Identifying concealed information by monitoring mouse-cursor movements

Jeffrey L. Jenkins, Jeffrey G. Proudfoot, Joseph S. Valacich, G. Mark Grimes, Jay F. Nunamaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Organizational members who conceal information about adverse behaviors present a substantial risk to that organization. Yet the task of identifying who is concealing information is extremely difficult, expensive, error-prone, and time-consuming. We propose a unique methodology for identifying concealed information: measuring people’s mouse-cursor movements in online screening questionnaires. We theoretically explain how mouse-cursor movements captured during a screening questionnaire differ between people concealing information and truth tellers. We empirically evaluate our hypotheses using an experiment during which people conceal information about a questionable act. While people completed the screening questionnaire, we simultaneously collected mouse-cursor movements and electrodermal activity-the primary sensor used for polygraph examinations-as an additional validation of our methodology. We found that mouse-cursor movements can significantly differentiate between people concealing information and people telling the truth. Mouse-cursor movements can also differentiate between people concealing information and truth tellers on a broader set of comparisons relative to electrodermal activity. Both mouse-cursor movements and electrodermal activity have the potential to identify concealed information, yet mouse-cursor movements yielded significantly fewer false positives. Our results demonstrate that analyzing mouse-cursor movements has promise for identifying concealed information. This methodology can be automated and deployed online for mass screening of individuals in a natural setting without the need for human facilitators. Our approach further demonstrates that mouse-cursor movements can provide insight into the cognitive state of computer users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Concealed information
  • Deception detection
  • Electrodermal activity
  • Graded-motor response analysis
  • Mouse-cursor movement
  • Video Emotion Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Sleight of hand: Identifying concealed information by monitoring mouse-cursor movements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this