Previous research has shown that the human lie detector tends to interpret messages as truthful rather than as deceptive (the truthfulness bias) and to infer attitudes congruent with the content of the (sometimes deceptive) messages (over-attribution). It was hypothesized that these effects are moderated by the extent to which receivers are anchored to the verbal content of the message; that is, receivers might form an early impression of the content and fail to adjust this impression sufficiently even if the message appears false. In the present study, receivers either judged the truthfulness of the message first and the sender's attitude second, or judged the sender's attitude first and truthfulness second, or judged only the sender's attitude. We proposed that having to judge truthfulness first would interfere with the role of the verbal content as an anchor for the receiver's impression. Consistent with this rationale, the results showed that both truthfulness bias and overattribution diminished when receivers judged truthfulness first compared to when receivers judged attitudes first or judged only attitudes.
KeywordsSocial Psychology Verbal Content Early Impression
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