Evidence for the Pinocchio effect: Linguistic differences between lies, deception by omission, and t...
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Evidence for the Pinocchio effect: Linguistic differences between lies, deception by omission, and truth. Lyn M. Van Swol & Michael T. Braun University of Wisconsin-Madison Deepak Malhotra Harvard Business School. Types of deception. Bald-faced lie Omission. Lie.

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Evidence for the Pinocchio effect: Linguistic differences between lies, deception by omission, and truth

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Evidence for the pinocchio effect linguistic differences between lies deception by omission and truth

Evidence for the Pinocchio effect: Linguistic differences between lies, deception by omission, and truth

Lyn M. Van Swol & Michael T. Braun

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Deepak Malhotra

Harvard Business School


Types of deception

Types of deception

  • Bald-faced lie

  • Omission


Evidence for the pinocchio effect linguistic differences between lies deception by omission and truth

Lie

  • A: Um, I’m giving you a dollar fifty.

  • R: You’re giving me a dollar fifty. How much did they give you?

  • A: Three dollars.

  • R: You’re lying. You know why?

  • A: Why?

  • R: Because I heard her say she gave you five bucks.

  • A: Well, that’s part of her experiment, she’s trying to fuck with you. Probably shouldn’t say that with the camera..whatever.


Omission

Omission

  • A: Okay, so I’m allocating 10 dollars to you, so I don’t know if you want 10 dollars or not.

  • R: That’s fine.

  • A: I don’t know if you can deal with that. Okay, so how are you doing?


Omission1

Omission

  • A: I’m giving you ten.

  • R: Ten bucks? So they gave you 20?

  • A: Ten is more than 7.50. So I figured…

  • R: Yeah. The only thing I’m interested in is if they gave you thirty or not.

  • A: Only if what?

  • R: The only thing I’d have a problem with is if they gave you 30 or not. And I know you wouldn’t dick me over, so.

  • A: And of course, we’d all figure this out later.

  • R: What?

  • A: We could figure this all out later.


Non strategic linguistic cues

Non-strategic linguistic cues

  • Pronoun use: first person and third person

  • Negative emotion words and suspicion

  • Swearing and suspicion

  • Higher cognitive load: concreteness, sentence complexity, type-token ratio, connectives


Strategic linguistic cues

Strategic linguistic cues

  • Word count

    • Pinocchio effect: greater words when reality cannot be verified/no concealment goals

    • Omission and reduced word count: concealment goal

  • Causation words


Modified ultimatum game

Modified ultimatum game

  • Endowment amount

  • Roles: Allocator/Recipient

  • Recipient only has knowledge of range of values

  • Allocator allocates endowment between self and recipient

  • Recipient can accept or reject offer

  • If rejected, allocator gets nothing and recipient gets a default amount of 25% of endowment

  • Interactions videotaped and transcribed


Method

Method

  • 102 dyads

  • Given either $5/$30 endowment

  • LIWC: Linguistic Word Count Inquiry software


Evidence for the pinocchio effect linguistic differences between lies deception by omission and truth

Lies (n = 7) Omission (n = 26) Truth (n = 69)

Note. * p < 0.05, ** p < .01

# Higher numbers indicate more concreteness.


Evidence for the pinocchio effect linguistic differences between lies deception by omission and truth

Lies (n = 7) Omission (n = 26) Truth (n = 69)

Note. * p < 0.05, ** p < .01


Role of suspicion

Role of suspicion

Lies Omission Truth


Multinomial logistic regression to predict offer type

Multinomial logistic regression to predict offer type

Deception Type = Lie

Third person pronouns (%) B = 0.95*

Number words (%) B = 0.45**

Note. * p < .05, ** p < .01


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Importance of context with word count

  • Without verifiable reality: Pinocchio effect

  • With concealment goal: reduced word count

  • Replicated past research with third person pronouns

  • Tentative results about profanity

  • Negative emotion words and suspicion


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