Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 481–492 | Cite as

How People Really Suspect Lies: A Re-examination of Novotny et al.’s (2018) Data

  • Jaume MasipEmail author
  • Nuria Sánchez


Previous research has shown that in real-life situations people detect lies mostly from non-behavioral information (e.g., physical evidence, third-party information, confessions…) rather than from behavioral cues. Novotny et al. (J Nonverbal Behav 42:41–52, 2018. argued that while lies are detected primarily from non-behavioral information, initial suspicion of a lie can be triggered primarily from behavioral cues. They conducted two studies and claimed support for their hypotheses. However, there are a number of problematic issues with Novotny et al.’s research and conclusions. We conducted analyses based on the frequencies and percentages they reported, and used meta-analytical techniques to combine their findings concerning discovered lies with those of previous research. The results show that lies are indeed detected from non-behavioral information more often than from behavioral cues. However, contrary to Novotny et al.’s assertions, suspicion is not triggered primarily from behavioral cues—rather, there is a trend in favor of non-behavioral information. Even so, behavioral cues play a bigger role in eliciting suspicion than in lie discovery.


Deception Lie detection Deception cues Suspicion Behavioral cues 



The authors are grateful to Dr. Iris Blandón-Gitlin (California State University, Fullerton, USA) and Ms. Ana I. Jiménez (University of Salamanca, Spain) for their comments on a previous draft of this manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Psychology and Anthropology, Psychology SchoolUniversity of SalamancaSalamancaSpain

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