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Psychology 323: Deception
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  1. Psychology 323: Deception J. P. Rosenfeld, Ph.D. jp-rosenfeld@northwestern.edu

  2. We should spend an equal time on phenomenology and MECHANISMS of deception…. …as we do on DETECTION of deception. But there is a lot more research-based (real) knowledge about the latter, so most of the time, that’s what we will cover.

  3. Regarding detection; there are two approaches: 1. Behavioral (a) non-verbal (b) Verbal 2. Physiological: Nervous system activity. ….We start with Behavioral:

  4. Are the following notions True? 1. People typically reveal their lies by fidgeting, acting nervous, avoiding eye contact, etc. 2. Therefore, we are rather good lie detectors (unless we are very stupid). 3. This is especially true when we detect lies in those close to us. 4. Criminals, con-men, professional crooks, and such, however, are harder to spot for us lay people. 5. Fortunately, trained professionals (police, FBI) are superior lie detectors, so they protect us against pros.

  5. We wish we had a Pinocchio's nose indicator

  6. But we don’t… • …NONE of those assertions is true!

  7. People think they are great lie detectors. But they miss many lies. Why?

  8. (1a) If someone thinks you look great, why argue? (Vrij: Ostrich effect)

  9. (1b) I’ll ask no questions……(and hope you tell no lies!) • Bill to Hillary and to an aide: “Ah did not have sex with that woman…..”

  10. (2) Lie detection is tough! • There is no behavioral or physiological specific index of deception, though things are not as bad a Vrij suggests: P300, fMRI

  11. Beware of internet & Media claims! • Pavlidis’ thermal imaging not so great… • BEOS BrainElectrical Oscillations Signature is Bogus! • “Brain Fingerprinting?!” (See my critique….)

  12. How common is lying? • A) once a year? • B) once a month? • C) once a week? • D) More than daily?

  13. Definition of lying: • OK, give one…

  14. Intentional, without warning, misinform or mislead another. • Liar must believe information is false. • Lie could fail.

  15. Taxonomy of Deceptions (Types of Lies)

  16. From Bad-est to least bad: • (1) Outright Lie– (total B.S.) • John Edwards: “I am not the father of that child, no way, I’ll happily take a DNA test….” • He was stating “I didn’t do it” while knowing he did.

  17. (2)Exaggerations (overstatements) or Minimizations(understatements) • “I am the most eminently famous researcher in the Psych. Department.” (but almost…) • “This is an important discovery of mine not yet published” (which was actually rejected by one journal and now in review at another.)

  18. (3) Subtle Lies (Omit details) • Clinton: “Ah did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski…” • (Not according to the usual definition: intercourse.)

  19. (4) Concealment… • “How was your day?…mine was as usual…” • [Heaven forbid she asks me about my day!]

  20. Why do people Lie?

  21. Many reasons: • (1) Material Gain • (2) Avoid loss/punishment • (3) Avoid embarrassment • (4) Make good impression (& get the job) • All these involve gain for oneself.

  22. The other kind of (Other-directed) Lie: • Altruistic Lies: “You made a great impression…” Telling a gravely ill person (child) that she will be fine..

  23. Why is it hard to know for sure how often people lie? Self report fails because (1) people don’t want to recall & (2) don’t remember. But 2+ times a day is a fair estimate.

  24. Whom do people lie to? • Strangers more than close contacts. (Why?)

  25. Attributes on which to classify Liars:

  26. (1) Gender: • Men tell more self-oriented lies. • Women tell more other oriented lies

  27. (2) Age • What is definite minimum age for lies in children? (2,4,6,8,10) See Vrij, P. 27. • What motivates youngest children’s lies? (Gain of say cookies? Avoid punishment? (earliest lies). Make a good impression?)

  28. (3) Personality Type • In romantic relations: • (a) attachment style: avoidant (lack of trust, keep people at distance)…..these folks lie to keep others at a distance. Versus • anxious attachments: lack of self-esteem. These people lie to look good as they feel bad.

  29. (b) Psychopathy • The types have no empathy or sympathy for others. They regard others as pieces of themselves, and objects of manipulation—like their own limbs. These are big time liars to everyone they might wish to manipulate. Superficially charming, they get away with it for a while…

  30. (c) Extraverts and introverts • Outward/sociable vs. reserved. • Which are the bigger liars?

  31. (d) Self-consciousness: • These are very concerned with impression they make, so how do they behave with respect to deception? In this connection, one speaks also of social anxiety: they lack self confidence, so they tell tales.

  32. Are there non-verbal, behavioral lie signals? (Are we all on same page? What are these?)

  33. We wish we had a Pinocchio's nose indicator

  34. DiPaolo’s group emphasizes 3 theoretical perspectives: • During deception, 3 phenomena occur that may yield “tells”: • 1) emotional reactions: guilt, fear----and delight. (delight?) • Guilt  low eye contact • Fear  stuttering, blinks, squeals. • Delight (of duper) excitement, inappropriate laughter. (Ekman)

  35. What else does liar experience? • 2) mental (task) demand, also called cognitive load. Liars will also tend to look away, so as to concentrate on made up details. Except when they monitor you to see if you believe. • 3) Attempted self control of behavior to avoid tells. Not easy. Voices break, facial expressions occur: Ekman’s micro-expressions.

  36. Remember: These are theories of what should happen. Moreover…

  37. …these effects are affected by certain other factors, e.g., • GUILT—The degree of guilt felt depends on personality. Consider Psychopathy. & Consider Stakes. & Consider sense of righteousness or duty felt by CIA agent. • FEAR– Experienced liars of whatever breed have less fear. • EXCITEMENT– helped by type of audience. Also, if it’s a big conquest, or else, no.

  38. More… • COGNITIVE LOAD--- also depends on verbal skill-intelligence and experience. (Vrij is wrong about Psychopaths feeling less load.) Degree of rehearsal also makes a difference (practice makes perfect!). No transparency illusion. So more monitoring of other. • SELF CONTROL depends on Psychopathy.

  39. Vrij is a pain, but best we have..(E.g.Box 3.1 p. 47)…. • …and his best statement is on the top of p. 49. “ …the relationship between lying and non-verbal behavior is complex.” The implications of this statement regarding development of non-verbal “tells” is what?! (Life is not Poker.)

  40. Research Methods for studying behavioral non-verbal signs of lying:

  41. Field Studies.(Define.) • We want to compare liars vs. truth-tellers, but… Difficulties: 1)Getting videos: (Are cameras always running?) 2) Establishing “Ground Truth.” 3) Controls: only possible in lab to have unconfounded conditions—so not many field studies re: nonverbal cues are out there…

  42. What’s a Confound ? • Consider our deception feedback study:

  43. OK, how about lab studies? • Pluses:Ground truth easy to get by design. Likewise, un-confounded control conditions. • Minuses: Lies are instructed. So what happens to guilt? fear? What happens regarding stakes? You can offer lots of money, but not punishment (as in real life). • DECEPTION HARD TO STUDY!

  44. Bottom Line: • Vrij’s Appendix 3.1(p. 90) makes very clear that there is NO reliable non-verbal sign of deception. There may be trends and even significant group effects (explain), which support theoretical views noted above….. **But in D of D, the key statistic is INDIVIDUAL HIT RATE (as utilized in d’ or AUC from SDT).

  45. Dramatically: • Is there such a thing as “lyin’ eyes?” Are gaze or eye contact helpful? (p. 60) Vrij says no, but there is new research: N. Cohen, Frank. *Are liars more emotional than truth tellers? Why or why not? (p. 61) [HINT: Is it only liars who feel emotion?]

  46. Table 3.1 (p. 57) in Vrij is about effect size. • J. Cohen's d = M1 - M2 / spooledwhere spooled = �[(s 1�+ s 2�) / 2] • In Table 3.1, only 3/18 d values are > .30 (moderate) in the big meta analysis of 100 behaviors. • Remember, d is a GROUP measure!

  47. Vrij’s “Group Differences” (p.67)…. • Very suspect! • As is rest of chapter about Clinton, Saddam Hussein, Huntley. • Amazing that he says (p.89) look for the cluster of c(l)ues to deception, not single c(l)ues. Which cluster? “There is no straightforward answer….”

  48. Verbal signs ("cues" clues?) about deception: That is….speech signs…

  49. We wish we had a Pinocchio's nose indicator