Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 325–354 | Cite as

Patterns of Nonverbal Behavior Associated with Truth and Deception: Illustrations from Three Experiments

  • Judee K. Burgoon
  • Jeffrey G. ProudfootEmail author
  • Ryan Schuetzler
  • David Wilson
Original Paper


The digital age has brought with it new and powerful computer-based methods of analyzing heretofore elusive patterns of nonverbal behavior. C-BAS (Meservy 2010) is a computer-assisted behavioral observation tool for identifying and tracking nonverbal behaviors from video. THEME (Magnusson, The hidden structure of interaction: from neurons to culture patterns, IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 4–22, 2005) is a software program that discovers patterns among discrete events in time-ordered data. Together, these tools enable more precise measurement and analysis of nonverbal behavioral dynamics. Applications to three corpora derived from interpersonal deception experiments reveal unique nonverbal patterns that distinguish deceptive from nondeceptive interactions. The first and second experiments produced serial, hierarchically related patterns of behaviors that differed in length and complexity between truthful and deceptive participants during interviews about a theft and cheating, respectively. The third experiment produced differential patterns by and among group members completing a task. Deceivers were inclined toward strategic initiations and interactional control, whereas suspicious group members adopted a more passive, possibly watchful stance. Discovery of these patterns challenges the prevailing view that nonverbal behaviors are too faint and inconsistent to identify deceptive communication. Results have numerous implications regarding the following: the development of new measurement tools locating significant effects of nonverbal behaviors, support for theory that coherent and repetitive relationships exist within and among interactants’ communication, demonstration of the role of nonverbal behaviors in deceptive communication and the dynamic and strategic nature of deception.


Nonverbal behavior Deception Interpersonal communication THEME 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the considerable advice and consultation by Dr. Magnus Magnusson, University of Iceland, who developed THEME and expanded its features for the benefit of this research project. Portions of this research were supported by funding from the U. S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research under the U. S. Department of Defense University Research Initiative (Grant #F49620-01-1-0394; PI: Burgoon) and the National Science Foundation (Grant # 0725895, Award IIP-1068026; PI: Burgoon). The views, opinions, and/or findings in this report are those of the authors and should not be construed as an official Department of Defense or National Science Foundation position, policy, or decision.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Agliati, A., Vescovo, A., & Anolli, L. (2006). A new methodological approach to nonverbal behavior analysis in cultural perspective. Behavior Research Methods, 38(3), 364–371.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allwood, J., Kopp, S., Grammer, K., Ahlsén, E., Oberzaucher, E., & Koppensteiner, M. (2007). The analysis of embodied communicative feedback in multimodal corpora: A prerequisite for behavior simulation. Language Resources and Evaluation, 41(3), 255–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Birdwhistell, R. (1970). Kinesics and context: Essays on body motion communication. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  4. Biros, D. P., Sakamoto, J., George, J. F., Adkins, M., Kruse, J., Burgoon, J.K., & Nunamaker, J. F., Jr. (2005). A quasi-experiment to determine the impact of a computer based deception detection training system: The use of Agent99 Trainer in the U.S. military. Proceedings of the 38th annual Hawaii international conference on system sciences, January 3–6.Google Scholar
  5. Bond, J. C. F., & DePaulo, B. M. (2006). Accuracy of deception judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10(3), 214–234.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Borrie, A., Jonsson, G. K., & Magnusson, M. S. (2001). Application of T-pattern detection and analysis in sports research. Hidden Temporal Patterns in Interaction, 3, 215–226.Google Scholar
  7. Borrie, A., Jonsson, G. K., & Magnusson, M. S. (2002). Temporal pattern analysis and its applicability in sport: An explanation and exemplar data. Journal of Sports Sciences, 20(10), 845–852.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brdiczka, O., Su, N. M., & Begole, J. B. (2010). Temporal task footprinting: Identifying routine tasks by their temporal patterns. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 15th international conference on intelligent user interfaces.Google Scholar
  9. Buller, D. B., & Burgoon, J. K. (1996). Interpersonal deception theory. Communication Theory, 6(3), 203–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burgoon, J. K., & Buller, D. B. (1994). Interpersonal deception: III. Effects of deceit on perceived communication and nonverbal behavior dynamics. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 18, 155–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burgoon, J. K., Buller, D. B., Dillman, L., & Walther, J. B. (1995). Interpersonal deception. Human Communication Research, 22(2), 163–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burgoon, J. K., & Dunbar, N. E. (2006). Nonverbal expressions of dominance and power in human relationships. In V. Manusov & M. Patterson (Eds.), The Sage handbook of nonverbal communication. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Burgoon, J. K., George, J. F., Kruse, J., Marett, K., & Adkins, M. A. (in press). Credibility assessment in meetings: Deception. In J. F. Nunamaker, N. Romano, & R. Briggs (Eds.), Advances in MIS: Collaboration science, technologies, processes and applications. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  14. Burgoon, J. K., Guerrero, L. K., & Floyd, K. (2010). Nonverbal communication. Boston: Pearson.Google Scholar
  15. Burgoon, J. K., Hamel, L., & Qin, T. (2012). Predicting veracity from linguistic indicators (pp. 323–328). Presented at Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference (EISIC).Google Scholar
  16. Burgoon, J. K., & Qin, T. (2006). The dynamic nature of deceptive verbal communication. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26, 76–96.Google Scholar
  17. Caris-Verhallen, W., Timmermans, L., & van Dulmen, S. (2004). Observation of nurse–patient interaction in oncology: Review of assessment instruments. Patient Education and Counseling, 54(3), 307–320.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Casarrubea, M., Roy, V., Sorbera, F., Magnusson, M., Santangelo, A., Arabo, A., et al. (2013). Temporal structure of the rat’s behavior in elevated plus maze test. Behavioural Brain Research, 237, 290–299.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Castañer, M., Torrents, C., Anguera, M. T., Dinušová, M., & Jonsson, G. K. (2009). Identifying and analyzing motor skill responses in body movement and dance. Behavior Research Methods, 41(3), 857–867.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Chovil, N. (2004). Measuring conversational facial displays. In V. Manusov (Ed.), The sourcebook of nonverbal measures: Going beyond words (pp. 173–188). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  21. de Haas, R., Nijdam, A., Westra, T. A., Kas, M. J., & Westenberg, H. G. (2011). Behavioral pattern analysis and dopamine release in quinpirole-induced repetitive behavior in rats. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(12), 1712–1719.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. de Haas, R., Seddik, A., Oppelaar, H., Westenberg, H. G. M., & Kas, M. J. H. (2012). Marked inbred mouse strain difference in the expression of quinpirole induced compulsive like behavior based on behavioral pattern analysis. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 22(9), 657–663.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. DePaulo, B. M., Lindsay, J. J., Malone, B. E., Muhlenbruck, L., Charlton, K., & Cooper, H. (2003). Cues to deception. Psychological Bulletin, 129(1), 74.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L., Bessarabova, E., Burgoon, J. K., Bernard, D. R., Harrison, K. J., et al. (2012). Empowered by persuasive deception: The effects of power and deception on dominance, credibility, and decision making. Communication Research.Google Scholar
  25. Duncan, J. S. (1974). On the structure of speaker-auditor interaction during speaking turns. Language in Society, 3(2), 161–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1969). Nonverbal leakage and clues to deception. Psychiatry, 32, 88–106.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Exline, R. V., Thibaut, J., Brannan, C., & Gumpert, P. (1970). Visual interaction in relation to Machiavellianism and an unethical act. In R. Christie & F. L. Geis (Eds.), Studies in Machiavellianism (pp. 53–76). New York: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fuller, C. M., Twitchell, D. P., & Marett, K. (2012). An examination of deception in virtual teams: Effects of deception on task performance, mutuality, and trust. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 55(1), 20–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Grammer, K., Fink, B., & Renninger, L. (2002). Dynamic systems and inferential information processing in human communication. Neuroendocrinology Letters, 23(4), 15–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Grammer, K., Kruck, K. B., & Magnusson, M. S. (1998). The courtship dance: Patterns of nonverbal synchronization in opposite-sex encounters. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 22(1), 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hartwig, M., & Bond, C. F, Jr. (2011). Why do lie-catchers fail? A lens model meta-analysis of human lie judgments. Psychological Bulletin, 137(4), 643–659.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Herzing, D. L. (2006). The currency of cognition: Assessing tools, techniques, and media for complex behavioral analysis. Aquatic Mammals, 32(4), 544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hirschenhauser, K., Frigerio, D., Grammer, K., & Magnusson, M. S. (2002). Monthly patterns of testosterone and behavior in prospective fathers. Hormones and Behavior, 42(2), 172–181.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Holler, J., & Beattie, G. (2003). Pragmatic aspects of representational gestures. Gesture, 3, 127–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jonsson, G. K., Anguera, M. T., Blanco-Villaseñor, Á., Luis Losada, J., Hernández-Mendo, A., Ardá, T., et al. (2006). Hidden patterns of play interaction in soccer using SOF-CODER. Behavior Research Methods, 38(3), 372–381.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kemp, A. S., Fillmore, P. T., Lenjavi, M. R., Lyon, M., Chicz-DeMet, A., Touchette, P. E., et al. (2008). Temporal patterns of self-injurious behavior correlate with stress hormone levels in the developmentally disabled. Psychiatry Research, 157(1), 181–189.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kerepesi, A., Kubinyi, E., Jonsson, G., Magnusson, M., & Miklósi, A. (2006). Behavioural comparison of human–animal (dog) and human–robot (AIBO) interactions. Behavioural Processes, 73(1), 92–99.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Levine, T. R. (2007). MSU trivia game interviews. Unpublished video tapes. Michigan State University. East Lansing.Google Scholar
  39. Magnusson, M. S. (2005). Understanding social interaction: Discovering hidden structure with model and algorithms. In L. Anolli, J. Duncan, & M. S. Magnusson (Eds.), The hidden structure of interaction: From neurons to culture patterns (pp. 4–22). Amsterdam: IOS Press.Google Scholar
  40. Magnusson, M. S. (2006). Structure and communication in interactions. In G. Riva, M. T. Anguera, B. K. Wiederhold, & F. Mantovani (Eds.), Communication to presence: Cognition, emotions and culture towards the ultimate communicative experience (pp. 127–145). Amsterdam: IOS Press.Google Scholar
  41. Marett, L. K., & George, J. F. (2004). Deception in the case of one sender and multiple receivers. Group Decision and Negotiation, 13(1), 29–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Martaresche, M., Le Fur, C., Magnusson, M., Faure, J., & Picard, M. (2000). Time structure of behavioral patterns related to feed pecking in chicks. Physiology & Behavior, 70(5), 443–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mazzi, M. A., Piccolo, L. D., & Zimmermann, C. (2003). Event-based categorical sequential analyses of the medical interview: A review. Epidemiologia e Psichiatria Sociale, 12, 81–85.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Meservy, T. O. (2010). CBAS 2.0: Center for identification technology research.Google Scholar
  45. Newman, M. L., Pennebaker, J. W., Berry, D. S., & Richards, J. M. (2003). Lying words: Predicting deception from linguistic styles. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(5), 665–675.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Noldus Observer. (2013): Noldus information technology.Google Scholar
  47. Ramirez, A., Walther, J. B., Burgoon, J. K., & Sunnafrank, M. (2002). Information-seeking strategies, uncertainty, and computer-mediated communication: Toward a conceptual model. Human Communication Research, 28(2), 213–228.Google Scholar
  48. Sporer, S. L., & Schwandt, B. (2007). Moderators of nonverbal indicators of deception: A meta-analytic synthesis. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 13(1), 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stachowski, A. A., Kaplan, S. A., & Waller, M. J. (2009). The benefits of flexible team interaction during crises. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(6), 1536–1543.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Vrij, A., Akehurst, L., Soukara, S., & Bull, R. (2004a). Detecting deceit via analyses of verbal and nonverbal behavior in children and adults. Human Communication Research, 30(1), 8–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Vrij, A., Evans, H., Akehurst, L., & Mann, S. (2004b). Rapid judgements in assessing verbal and nonverbal cues: Their potential for deception researchers and lie detection. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 18(3), 283–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wedl, M., Bauer, B., Gracey, D., Grabmayer, C., Spielauer, E., Day, J., et al. (2011). Factors influencing the temporal patterns of dyadic behaviours and interactions between domestic cats and their owners. Behavioural Processes, 86(1), 58–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zhou, L., Burgoon, J. K., Nunamaker, J. F., & Twitchell, D. P. (2004). Automating linguistics-based cues for detecting deception in text-based asynchronous computer-mediated communication. Group Decision and Negotiation, 13(1), 81–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judee K. Burgoon
    • 1
  • Jeffrey G. Proudfoot
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ryan Schuetzler
    • 1
  • David Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Management of Information, Eller College of ManagementUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Information and Process ManagementBentley UniversityWalthamUSA

Personalised recommendations