Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 327–343 | Cite as

See No Evil: The Effect of Communication Medium and Motivation on Deception Detection

  • Jeffrey T. HancockEmail author
  • Michael T. Woodworth
  • Saurabh Goorha


The present study reports an experiment that examines the role of communication medium and liar motivation on deception detection. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two dyadic communication conditions, text-based, computer-mediated environment or face-to-face, and to one of two motivation conditions, high or low. Participants engaged in a discussion of four topics, in which one participant was deceptive during two topics and truthful during the other two. No main effect of communication medium or motivation level was observed. However, an interaction effect suggests that highly motivated liars interacting in a text-based, computer- mediated environment were the most successful in deceiving their partners. The implications of these results are discussed both in terms of the elimination of non- verbal cues, as well as the potential advantages to the motivated liar offered by text-based media.


Deception detection Lying Deception Computer-mediated communication Motivation Interpersonal communication 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson DE, DePaulo BM, Ansfield ME, Tickle JJ, Green E (1999) Beliefs about cues to deception: mindless stereotypes or untapped wisdom. J Nonverbal Behav 23: 67–89. doi: 10.1023/A:1021387326192 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson DE, DePaulo BM, Ansfield ME (2002) The development of deception detection skill: a longitudinal study of same sex friends. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 28: 536–545. doi: 10.1177/0146167202287010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bos N, Olson J, Gergle D, Olson G, Wright Z (2002) Effect of four computer-mediated communications channels on trust development. In: Proceedings of CHI 2002, pp 135–140Google Scholar
  4. Buller DB, Burgoon JK (1996) Interpersonal deception theory. Commun Theory 3: 203–242. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.1996.tb00127.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burgoon JK, Floyd K (2000) Testing the motivational impairment effect during deceptive and truthful interactions. West J Commun 64: 243–267Google Scholar
  6. Burgoon JK, Buller DB, Guerrero LK, Feldman CM (1994) Interpersonal deception: VI. Viewing deception success from deceiver and observer perspectives: effects of preinteractional and interactional factors. Commun Stud 45: 263–280Google Scholar
  7. Burgoon JK, Buller DB, White CH, Afifi W, Buslig ALS (1999) The role of conversational involvement in deceptive interpersonal interactions. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 25: 669–686. doi: 10.1177/0146167299025006003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burgoon JK, Buller DB, Floyd K (2001) Does participation affect deception success? A test of the interactivity principle. Hum Commun Res 27: 503–534Google Scholar
  9. Burgoon JK, Bonito JA, Ramirez A, Dunbar NE, Kam K, Fischer J (2002) Testing the interactivity principle: effects of mediation, propinquity, and verbal and nonverbal modalities in interpersonal interaction. J Commun 52(3): 657–677. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2002.tb02567.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burgoon JK, Stoner GM, Bonito JA, Dunbar NE (2003) Trust and deception in mediated communication. Proceedings of the 36th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, USAGoogle Scholar
  11. Carlson JR, George JF, Burgoon JK, Adkins M, White C (2004) Deception in computer-mediated communication. Group Decis Negot 13: 5–28. doi: 10.1023/B:GRUP.0000011942.31158.d8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis M, Hadiks D (1995) Demeanor and credibility. Semiotica 106: 5–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dennis A, Valacich JS (1999) Rethinking media richness: towards a theory of media synchronicity. Proceedings of the 32nd Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, USAGoogle Scholar
  14. DePaulo BM, Kirkendol SE (1989) The motivational impairment effect in the communication of deception. In: Yuille JC (eds) Credibility assessment. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 51–70Google Scholar
  15. Depaulo BM, Morris WL (2004) Discerning lies from truths: behavioural cues to deception and the indirect pathway of intuition. In: Granhag PA, Stromwall LA (eds) The Detection of deception in forensic contexts. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom, pp 15–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. DePaulo BM, Rosenthal R (1979) Telling lies. J Pers Soc Psychol 37: 1713–1722. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.37.10.1713 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DePaulo BM, Lanier K, Davis T (1983) Detecting the deceit of the motivated Liar. J Pers Soc Psychol 45: 1096–1103. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.45.5.1096 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. DePaulo BM, Kirkendol SE, Tang J, O’Brien TP (1988) The motivational impairment effect in the communication of deception: replications and extensions. J Nonverbal Behav 12: 177–202. doi: 10.1007/BF00987487 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. DePaulo BM, Charlton K, Cooper H, Lindsay JJ, Muhlenbruck L (1997) The accuracy-confidence correlation in the detection of deception. Pers Soc Psychol Rev 1: 346–357. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr0104_5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. DePaulo BM, Lindsay JJ, Malone BE, Muhlenbruck L, Charlton K, Cooper H (2003) Cues to deception. Psychol Bull 129: 74–118. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.1.74 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dunbar NE, Ramirez A, Burgoon JK (2003) The effects of participation on the ability to judge deceit. Commun Rep 16: 23–33Google Scholar
  22. Ekman P (2001) Telling lies: clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics, and marriage. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Ekman P, Friesen WV (1969) Nonverbal leakage and clues to deception. Psychiatry 32: 88–106Google Scholar
  24. Ekman P, O’Sullivan M, Friesen WV, Scherer KR (1991) Face, voice, and body in detecting deceit. J Nonverbal Behav 15: 125–135. doi: 10.1007/BF00998267 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Forrest JA, Feldman RS (2000) Detecting deception and judge’s involvement: lower task involvement leads to better lie detection. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 26: 118–125. doi: 10.1177/0146167200261011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Frank MG, Ekman P (1997) The ability to detect deceit generalizes across different types of high stakes lies. J Pers Soc Psychol 72: 1429–1439. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.72.6.1429 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Granhag PA, Stromwall LA (2004) Research on deception detection: intersections and future challenges. In: Granhag PA, Stromwall LA (eds) The detection of deception in forensic contexts. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom, pp 15–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Grice HP (1989) Studies in the way of words. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  29. Hancock JT, Dunham PJ (2001) Impression formation in computer-mediated communication revisited: an analysis of the breadth and intensity of impressions. Commun Res 28: 325–347. doi: 10.1177/009365001028003004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hancock JT, Dunham PJ (2001) Language use in computer-mediated communication: the role of coordination devices. Discourse Process 31: 91–110. doi: 10.1207/S15326950dp3101_4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hancock JT, Thom-Santelli J, Ritchie T (2004) Deception and design: the impact of communication technologies on lying behavior. Proceedings, Conference on Computer Human Interaction, vol 6. ACM, New York, pp 130–136Google Scholar
  32. Internet Fraud Complaint Center (2003) IFCC 2002 internet fraud report. Retrieved March 17, 2004, from
  33. Jones SE, LeBaron CD (2002) Research on the relationship between verbal and nonverbal communication: emerging integrations. J Commun 52: 499–521. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2002.tb02559.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Levine TR, Park HS, McCornack SA (1999) Accuracy in detecting truths and lies: documenting the “veracity effect”. Commun Monogr 66: 663–675Google Scholar
  35. Mitchell KJ, Finkelhor D, Wolak J (2001) Risk factors & impact of online solicitation of youth. JAMA 285: 3011–3014. doi: 10.1001/jama.285.23.3011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Porter S, Woodworth M, Birt A (2000) Truth, lies and videotape: an investigation of the ability of Federal parole officers to detect deception. Law Hum Behav 24: 643–658. doi: 10.1023/A:1005500219657 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vrij A (2000) Detecting lies and deceit. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  38. Vrij A (2004) Guidelines to catch a liar. In: Granhag P, Stromwall LA (eds) The detection of deception in forensic contexts. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom, pp 287–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vrij A (2005) Criteria-based content analysis: a qualitative review of the first 37 studies. Psychol Public Policy Law 11: 3–41. doi: 10.1037/1076-8971.11.1.3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vrij A, Semin GR, Bull R (1996) Insight into behavior displayed during deception. Hum Commun Res 22: 544–562. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1996.tb00378.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vrij A, Edward K, Roberts KP, Bull R (2000) Detecting deceit via analysis of verbal and nonverbal behavior. J Nonverbal Behav 24: 239–264. doi: 10.1023/A:1006610329284 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Walther JB (1996) Computer-mediated communication: impersonal, interpersonal and hyperpersonal interaction. Commun Res 28: 105–134. doi: 10.1177/009365001028001004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Walther JB, Anderson JF, Park D (1994) Interpersonal effects in computer-mediated interaction: a meta-analysis of social and anti-social communication. Commun Res 21: 460–487. doi: 10.1177/009365094021004002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zheng J, Veinott E, Bos N, Olson J, Olson G (2002) Trust without touch: jumpstarting long-distance trust with initial social activities. In: Proceedings, Conference on Computer-Human Interaction, vol 4, pp 141–146Google Scholar
  45. Zuckerman M, Driver RE (1985) Telling lies: verbal and nonverbal correlates of deception. In: Siegman AW, Feldstein S (eds) Multichannel integrations of nonverbal behavior. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 129–147Google Scholar
  46. Zuckerman M, DePaulo BM, Rosenthal R (1981) Verbal and nonverbal communication of deception. In: Berkowitz L (eds) Advances in experimental social psychology. Academic Press, New York, pp 2–59Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey T. Hancock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael T. Woodworth
    • 2
  • Saurabh Goorha
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Communication and Faculty of Computing and Information ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.University of British Columbia OkanaganKelownaCanada

Personalised recommendations