Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1343–1367

Communicating Deception: Differences in Language Use, Justifications, and Questions for Lies, Omissions, and Truths


DOI: 10.1007/s10726-013-9373-3

Cite this article as:
Van Swol, L.M. & Braun, M.T. Group Decis Negot (2014) 23: 1343. doi:10.1007/s10726-013-9373-3


The use of linguistics to detect deception is a growing field of study. This experiment used naturally-occurring deception to test the propositions and fundamental assumptions of this line of inquiry. One participant (allocator) was given 6 dollars to divide between herself and another participant (receiver). Receivers were not told how much money allocators received. In 1/3 of interactions, the recipient was deceived either with a lie or deceptive omission. Linguistic differences associated with deception (fewer first person pronouns) were found for lies and omission, but higher word count was only found for omission. We found no evidence of a relationship between negative emotion and linguistic factors related to emotion (negative emotion words, negations, pronouns). Coding of justifications found allocators used more justifications for their offers when recipient was suspicious. Liars used more justifications providing details about how they obtained the money. Justifications about offer fairness were related to increased detection accuracy.


Deception Lying Linguistic analysis Omission Lie detection Suspicion Equivocation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication ArtsUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationMillikin UniversityDecaturUSA

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