Nonverbal Behavior and Deceit
Nonverbal communication is a category by exclusion; as such it is almost impossible to exactly define what it contains. Everybody in their life has to face the issue of dealing with people that try to deceive them. Everybody has to face the challenge of trying to determine what is and is not true. Unfortunately the average person is not very good at this because the average person doesn’t know what to look for. However there are still cues that will occasionally give away a lie.
Deceptive communication is a rather large phenomenon to attach a single set definition to. Technically most people engage in communication that is deceptive every time they speak with someone else. This is true as most people commonly omit relevant information from their messages to others. However this paper is intended to help learn to see when someone is telling a lie. This paper covers the nonverbal cues of the body, the contexts of a lie.
This research will tell you to see the things you haven’t been noticing, enabling you to understand communication in a whole new light and giving you a huge advantage in both business and personal interactions and investigation.
Nonverbal Behavior and Deception
The Dynamic Nature of Deceptive Verbal communication
Deceptive responding differed from truthful responding depending on the truth-deception sequence and the phase of the interview. The truth-first order made it much easier for deceivers to approximate truthful discourse sooner. The existence of significant variability due to time and sequence has important implications for identifying reliable indicators of deception and for research paradigms used to investigate deceptive and truthful discourse.(Burgoo, 2006)
The Deception Theory of IDT; Buller ; Burgoon (1994, 1996), states that IDT is a propositional theory that explicitly considers temporal and process factors in deception. Premised on fundamental principles of interpersonal communication, IDT assumes that interpersonal deception, like other forms of interpersonal interaction, is interdependent, dynamic, and adaptive. That is, deceivers’ actions are interrelated to receivers’ actions. Deceivers attune to and respond to the behavior of counteractions. As deceptive interactions progress, deceivers take in interlocutors’ feedback regarding their own performance and adjust their communication accordingly (with social skills moderating the adaptation such that more skilled deceivers are better able to adapt and to present a credible performance).
IDT posits, and research has confirmed, that deceptive behavior is seen as unexpected, anomalous, and “fishy looking” and evokes suspicion (Bond et al., 1992; Burgoon;Buller, 1994).
In addition, nonverbal indicators of deception that are identified in meta-analyses of the extant literature (DePaulo et al., 2003; Zuckerman ; Driver, 1985) may be accurate only in depicting the opening seconds or minutes of a deceptive episode but not the later ones interpersonal.
However, the nonverbal deceptive displays are changeable over the course of a conversation or interview (e.g., Buller;Aune, 1987; Buller, Strzyzewski, ; Comstock, 1991; Burgoon ; Buller, 1994), with deceivers adapting their behavior to more closely approximate that of truth tellers (Burgoon, Buller, White, Afifi, ;Buslig, 1999; White;Burgoon, 2001). This adaptation is attributable in part to communicators viewing the communication style of interlocutors as feedback regarding their own performance (White ; Burgoon, 2001). A positive demeanor from counteractions implies acceptance, leading deceivers to believe they are succeeding with their deception, whereas negativity connotes suspicion and skepticism, which motivates deceivers to alter their behavior so as to win targets’ acceptance. The result is that in later phases of an interaction, deceptive
Observers’ Decision Moment in Deception Detection Experiments
The research into the nonverbal detection of deception has typically been conducted by asking observers to judge whether a number of videotaped statements are truthful or deceptive. In most cases, the behavioral segments used in this research have been very short. A typical result is that observers tend to judge the statements as truthful (truth bias). (Kraut 1978)
The nonverbal detection of deceit has drawn the attention of many researchers over the last decades. In the typical deception-detection experiment, observers have to watch or listen to either recorded or live audio, visual, or audiovisual communications of a number of witnesses or suspects (the communication senders). After each communication, they have to indicate, normally in a form, whether the sender was lying or telling the truth (e.g., Miller ; Stiff, 1993).
Furthermore, not only have researchers neglected the influence of the moment at which observers make their decisions on their credibility judgments, but they have also used videotapes so brief that one may wonder whether they can contain enough information for observers to make a reasoned judgment.
Levine et al. also argued that this truth bias may give rise to a veracity effect, that is, accuracy in judging truthful statements will be significantly greater than accuracy in judging deceptive statements. In a series of three experiments, they repeatedly found that truth-detection accuracy was significantly greater than lie-detection accuracy (veracity effect).
These observation results suggest that accuracy was greater when judging truthful statements than when judging deceptive statements. This distinction must be made between accuracy in detecting truthful statements and accuracy in detecting deceptive statements. People generally tend to lend credibility to the verbal and nonverbal messages conveyed by others; that is to say, they show a truth bias. (Levine et al)
A significant main effect for the value of truth on the PJT indicated that significantly more judgments of truthfulness were made when the statements were actually truthful (.59) than when they were deceptive (.50), F (1, 50) 5 6.19, p 5 .016. This suggests that observers were somewhat capable of discerning between truthful and deceptive accounts.
The statistically significant moment–PJT correlation indicated that the PJT decreased when observers made their decisions later, r 5 2.29, p 5 .037. While this reduction was very meager for the truthful statements, r 5 2.14, p 5 .309, it reached a marginal significance for the deceptive ones, r 5 2.24, p 5 .077.
Moment in judging truthful and deceptive statements its correlation of the moment variable for truthful statements with the moment variable for deceptive statements was positive and significant, r 5 .34, p 5 .013. This indicated that, regardless of the truth value of the statements, some observers consistently made their decisions earlier than others.
Inaddition, the overall detection accuracy is poor but significantly greater than chance. However, when the truth value of statements was taken into consideration, following Levine et al.’s (1999) recommendations, a more complex picture emerged.
Furthermore, the accuracy in judging truthful statements was significantly greater than accuracy in judging deceptive statements. Therefore, a veracity effect was apparent. Furthermore, although accuracy in judging deceptive statements was not below chance, accuracy in judging truthful statements was significantly greater than chance… seemed to be caused by truth bias.
To Act Truthfully
Trying to find nonverbal indicators of deception has been the object of much research activity for the last 30 years. The nonverbal cues to deception that are quite reliable, though, are that liars move their arms, hands and feet less than truth tellers (Sporer ; Schwandt, 2002; Vrij, 2000a) and that liars make fewer gestures to illustrate their speech (DePaulo et al., 2003). Furthermore, liars tend so speak in a higher pitch than truth tellers (DePaulo et al., 2003; Vrij, 2000a).
The nonverbal behaviors liars and truth tellers display are moderated by a number of factors, such as the content and type of lie, if the liars and truth tellers are motivated or not, if the stakes are high or low, if the context is interactive or non-interactive, if the liars (and truth tellers) are given time to prepare their message or not, the length of the interview/message, and which population the liars and truth tellers are sampled from. See DePaulo et al. (2003) for a thorough review of these and other moderating factors, and how they lead to different displays of nonverbal cues to deception.
Perhaps the most important element we introduced in this study was that police officers conducted the interrogations as they would normally do in their daily work. From an ecological validity standpoint, previous research has missed out on examining actual police officers as interrogators. During the investigation the police can analyzed (Mann, Vrij, and Bull 2002) and detect some differences between liars and truth tellers, namely more pauses and less eye blinks when lying. The liars (M_/6.33) were significantly more nervous during the interrogations than truth tellers (M_/4.53), t (28) _/2.01, and p_/0.05. The liars (M_/4.59) also found it more strenuous than the truth tellers (M_/2.73), t (28) _/2.62, and pB/0.05.
However, there is common nonverbal strategy for both truth tellers and liars was to not make any excess movements (50.0% for the truth tellers, 54.5% for the liars). The second most common was to maintain eye contact (truth tellers 27.8%, liars 27.3%). The third most found category was that the participants stated they had not used any strategy to make a credible impression (truth tellers 16.7%, liars 13.6%), and finally the vocal behavior category (truth tellers 5.6%, liars 4.5%).
Police Officers’, Social Workers’, Teachers’, and the General Public
When people are asked to discriminate between truth and deception without having physical evidence or information of third parties to rely upon, their performance typically falls into the 45–60% range (Vrij, 2000). These are low percentages because 50% correct decisions can be expected by chance alone.
Teachers believed, more so than police officers, that liars experience emotions.
They also felt, more than the general public, that young children experience emotions when they lie, whereas social workers were more inclined to believe than the general public that young children attempt to control their behavior when they lie. Police officers were less likely than the other three groups to think that adolescents control their behavior when they lie.
Previous research has shown that gaze aversion and grooming gestures (self-manipulations) are perceived as the strongest indicators of deception. Also in this study, some of the strongest associations (around 1.5) were found for these two cues. Strong associations were also found for ‘providing evasive answers’ and ‘making contradictions’.
Strong increases in stutters, repetitions, hectic speech, shaky voice, gaze aversion, twitches, swallowing, blushing, leg/feet movements, tense face, nervous face, shifts, shaking, self-manipulations, tense posture and nervous body (all cues to nervousness) were associated with deception. Contrast analyses between the three age groups revealed that speech rate and cognitive operations were perceived as weaker cues to deceit in young children than in adolescents and adults.
Liars are also expected to have difficulties when formulating their statements, resulting in strong increases (around þ1) in pauses, throat clearing, false starts, evasive answers, waiting before answering (latency period), faltering speech, gaze aversion and shrugs and in answers that sound implausible, illogical and include contradictions(Kraut 1978). Finally, liars are believed not to embrace their stories as much as truth-tellers do, resulting in less verbal immediacy, more verbal uncertainty and a body orientation away from the observer.
Facial Movements Express Emotion
When the women attempted to conceal negative emotions, claiming to feel enjoyment, they showed more masking smiles—in which a smile (zygomatic major or AU 12 in FACS scoring) is superimposed over muscular actions associated with fear, sadness, or disgust—than they showed when they had truthfully described enjoyable feelings. Just the reverse was found with the type of smile that other evidence (described below) has identified as a sign of
Enjoyment (zygomatic major and orbicularis oculi, pars lateralis or 6+12). This type of smile was shown more often when the subjects honestly described enjoyable feelings than when they falsely claimed to have such feelings. (Ekman, P., W.V. Friesen ; M. O’Sullivan, 1988)
Smiling is a facial movement that also can send cues about deception. If a half-hearted smile is present, then the person is probably lying. (Kraut 1978) But, naturally, there are those who can fake a smile with the best of them. But the one thing those people cannot do is fake the uncontrollable muscles around the eyes. The person who smiles genuinely also unconsciously uses small muscles around the eyes. A person who fakes a happy smile does not use those same eye muscles. (Kraut, 1978, p. 387.) A very well trained professional may be able to pick up on that, but to the typical person, a smile is a weaker signal to deception. However yet again there may be other occasional reasons for a half hearted smile. For example if the person doesn’t really want to talk about the subject.
Parents’ and Non-parents’ Beliefs
Parents do have different beliefs to non-parents about the cues to deception in children but all participants were aware that the deception situation could make a difference to the types of behavior expected. However, parents were not more aware than non-parents about the extent of these differences.
Generally the differences are between adolescents and younger children. If we consider the behaviors for a moment, we can see that people seem to be aware that adolescents will display more adult-like deceptions than younger children, with deceptions increasing in complexity (perhaps being betrayed by speech errors and speech hesitations). Deception in adolescence may be seen to be more associated with strategic communications and those behaviors which typically characterize young children’s deceptions (e.g. touching mouth/face or blaming someone else) are believed to occur less in this context.
This accuracy of beliefs about the cues to deception may therefore depend on the situation and it is possible to see variations in believed deceptive behavior when the deception situation is varied. Lies could fail for a number of different reasons (Ekman, 1981, 1992). We could be caught out because we feel guilty about lying, because we are frightened of getting caught, because we are experiencing strong emotion or because we are excited about the prospect of getting away with the lie. These are all likely to lead to signs of emotional arousal. Alternatively, we could fail because the cognitive demands of the situation are too great and we need to exert more mental effort to deceive successfully than we can manage at the time. This is likely to lead to signs of cognitive load.
‘The essence of lying is in deception, not in words; a lie may be told by silence, by equivocation, by the accent on a syllable, by a glance of the eye attaching a peculiar significance to a sentence; and all these kinds of lies are worse and baser by many degrees than a lie plainly worded; so that no form of blinded conscience is so far sunk as that which comforts itself for having deceived because the deception was by gesture or silence, instead of utterance.’ (J. Ruskin).
However, even if the children can do this to others but parent would be the kind of target who was difficult to fool and able to impose sanctions on unsuccessful deceptions, therefore leading to high levels of fear of getting caught.
Professionals Fail to Catch Liars and Ways to Improve
When criminal justice investigators (police officers, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, juries and so on) assess statements made by suspects, victims and witnesses, they are almost always confronted with the age-old dilemma of how to distinguish between those who are telling the truth and those who are not (Horvath, Jayne, ; Buckley, 1994). Police officers like to present themselves as being good lie detectors (Inbau, Reid, Buckley, ; Jayne, 2001), but research does not really support this claim.
Suspects made fewer eye blinks when they lied. Research has shown that nervousness results in an increase in eye blinking (Harrigan ; O’Connell, 1996), whereas increased cognitive load results in a decrease in eye blinking. Participants had poor insight into their own behavior and thought that they responded more stereotypically while lying (showing increased gaze aversion, an increase in movements, and so on) than they in fact did. For example, participants actually showed a reduction in movements. In other words, it seems that during lie detection observers look for cues they mistakenly believe they themselves show while lying. (Walters, S. B. 1996).
If one is lying and doesn’t make eye contact when he/she should, then a lie could be taking place. Of course, many learn as children to look at someone when you lie to them to make them believe you are truthful. And, if one is looking at something else while talking to you, does that mean they are lying? One could be distracted by something else or simply positioned in a way with an inability to face you. (Gass 2002)
With regard to emotions, Ekman (1985/2001) pointed out that liars might feel guilty because they are lying, might be afraid of getting caught, or might be excited about having the opportunity to fool someone. Regarding content complexity, sometimes liars find it difficult to lie, as they have to think of plausible answers, avoid contradicting themselves and tell a lie that is consistent with everything that the observer knows or might find out, whilst avoiding making slips of the tongue. Moreover, they have to remember what they have said, so that they can keep their story consistent when asked to repeat it (Burgoon, Buller, ; Guerrero, 1995; Vrij, 2000a). This might be more difficult than truth telling, especially when the liar has not prepared a story and has to concoct one instantly. Also, liars continuously have to monitor their speech and non-verbal behavior in order to appear convincing throughout their lie. This probably becomes increasingly difficult as lies increase in length and complexity.
Differences in behavior between liars and truth tellers are usually very small (Vrij, 1994) and, obviously, the smaller the differences, the more difficult it will be to detect them. Another reason why people fail to catch liars is that they do not take such individual differences into account when they attempt to detect deceit. Those people whose natural behavior looks suspicious are in a particularly disadvantageous position. Some individuals’ non-verbal behavior gives the impression that they are telling the truth (honest demeanor bias), whereas others’ natural behavior leaves the impression that they are lying (dishonest demeanor bias) (Riggio, Tucker, ; Throckmorton, 1988; Riggio, Tucker, ; Widaman, 1987; Vrij, 1993; Vrij ; Van Wijngaarden, 1994; Vrij ; Winkel, 1992b; Zuckerman, DeFrank, Hall, Larrance, ; Rosenthal, 1979).
Research has demonstrated individual differences in lie-detection ability, with some people being better than others. For example, in Mann et al.’s (2004) study, the total accuracy rates for individual officers varied from a low 30% to a very high 90% (achieved by three officers, Mann, 2001). A better way of examining people’s ability to detect deceit and the strategies good lie detectors use is to test the same people on several occasions, and to examine those lie detectors who give a consistent performance.
Detecting True Lies
In the present study, 99 police officers, who did not belong to a group that has been identified as specialized in lie detection, attempted to detect lies and truths told by suspects during their police interviews. (Walters, S. B. 1996). Regarding accuracy, two main findings emerged. First, truth accuracy and lie accuracy were both around 65% in this study, which was higher than was found in most previous deception detection studies. It is also the highest accuracy rate ever found for a group of “ordinary” police officers. The accuracy rates found in this sample of ordinary police officers were comparable to those found among specialized groups of lie detectors in previous studies (Ekman ; O’Sullivan, 1991; Ekman et al., 1999).
Police officers can detect truths and lies above the level of chance, and accuracy is related to experience with interviewing suspects. However, the results also revealed serious shortcomings in police work. First, accuracy rates, although above the level of chance, were far from perfect, and errors in truth–lie detection were frequently made. Second, police officers had a tendency to pay attention to cues that are not diagnostic cues to deceit, particularly body cues, such as gaze aversion. (Walters, S. B. 1996). There may be various reasons why these no diagnostic cues are so popular, one of which may be the discussion of these cues as diagnostic cues to deception in popular police manuals, that are published by Inbau and colleagues. In fact, our research revealed that the more police officers followed their advice, the worse they were in their ability to distinguish between truths and lies.
Beliefs about the Cues
High-stake deceptions are likely to occur less frequently than low-stake ones and so might also be more memorable for this reason. However, the cues to deception may also be inferred from those deceptions that occur in low-stake situations but which are detected nonetheless. They may also be derived from situations in which the person themselves has had to lie _/ as they may believe that they are behaving more nervously than they actually are (Vrij et al., 1996).
There is some support for the idea that people may be using high-stake deceptions as a way of creating schemata about general deceptive behavior _/ as they expect liars in high-stake situations to behave more nervously than those in low-stake ones. This suggests that people are sensitive to the possibility that situation can affect deceptive behavior and that this sensitivity may depend on features of the situation that can be abstracted and generalized.
The ability to detect deception is an area of particular interest to a number of unique environments. In criminal investigations competent interrogation techniques are often fundamental to the successful gathering of evidence for further scientific analysis. The failure of many popular deception detection techniques to provide a valid measure with limited false positives (false identification of deception), along with the ethical concerns surrounding other methods of deception analysis, has led to a great deal of interest in the assessment of deception via behavioral observations (Lubow ; Fein, 1996).
Research has consistently shown that a combination of autonomic arousal and cognitive processing failures can create a number of identifiable non-verbal cues of deception (Horvath, Jayne, ; Buckley, 1994). Factors such as, non-linguistic voice characteristics, micro expressions, and body-movement are all predictive of a deceptive individual. Walters (1996) notes, however, that there is no single universal cue of deception. He postulates that one must examine an individual’s non-aroused behavior prior to any emotionally stressful and arousing interrogation is undertaken, so that a baseline of normative behavioral responses can be formulated for comparison with any observed behavioral cues.
The usage of deception detection training programs structured interviews, most notably the BAI, have shown a dramatic increase in the ability to detect detection, particularly when applied to real world interrogations (Horvath, Jayne, & Buckley, 1994). The applicability of lie-detection research to real world contexts is currently in high demand and appears to be a possible avenue of significant contribution to many forensic contexts.
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