Cues to lying may be deceptive: Speaker and listener behaviour in an interactive game of deception

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Are the cues that speakers produce when lying the same cues that listeners attend to when attempting to detect deceit? We used a two-person interactive game to explore the production and perception of speech and nonverbal cues to lying. In each game turn,participants viewed pairs of images, with the location of some treasure indicated to the speaker but not to the listener. The speaker described the location of the treasure, with the objective of misleading the listener about its true location; the listener attempted to locate the treasure, based on their judgement of the speaker’s veracity. In line with previous comprehension research, listeners’ responses suggest that they attend primarily to behaviours associated with increased mental difficulty, perhaps because lying, under a cognitive hypothesis, is thought to cause an increased cognitive load. Moreover, a mouse tracking analysis suggests that these judgements are made quickly, while the speakers’utterances are still unfolding. However, there is a surprising mismatch between listeners and speakers: When producing false statements, speakers are less likely to produce the cues that listeners associate with lying. This production pattern is in keeping with an attempted control hypothesis, whereby liars may take into account listeners’expectations and correspondingly manipulate their behaviour to avoid detection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number42
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalJournal of Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • psychology
  • communication
  • pragmatics
  • deception
  • disfluency


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  • PPLS-Gray Publication Prize

    Loy, Jia (Recipient), Jun 2017

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

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