Psychology 323 deception
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Psychology 323: Deception. J. P. Rosenfeld, Ph.D. We should spend an equal time on phenomenology and MECHANISMS of deception….

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Psychology 323 deception

Psychology 323: Deception

J. P. Rosenfeld, Ph.D.

We should spend an equal time on phenomenology and mechanisms of deception
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.

Regarding detection there are two approaches
Regarding detection; there are two approaches: MECHANISMS of deception….

1. Behavioral

(a) non-verbal

(b) Verbal

2. Physiological: Nervous system activity.

….We start with Behavioral:

Are the following notions true
Are the following notions True? MECHANISMS of deception….

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.

Psychology 323 deception

We wish we had a Pinocchio's nose indicator MECHANISMS of deception….

But we don t
But we don’t… MECHANISMS of deception….

  • …NONE of those assertions is true!

Psychology 323 deception

Psychology 323 deception

  • (2) Lie detection is tough! lies!)

  • There is no behavioral or physiological specific index of deception, though things are not as bad a Vrij suggests: P300, fMRI

Beware of internet media claims
Beware of internet & Media claims! lies!)

  • Pavlidis’ thermal imaging not so great…

  • BEOS BrainElectrical Oscillations Signature is Bogus!

  • “Brain Fingerprinting?!” (See my critique….)

How common is lying
How common is lying? lies!)

  • A) once a year?

  • B) once a month?

  • C) once a week?

  • D) More than daily?

Definition of lying
Definition of lying: lies!)

  • OK, give one…

Psychology 323 deception

Taxonomy of deceptions

Taxonomy of Deceptions lies!)

(Types of Lies)

From bad est to least bad
From Bad-est to least bad: lies!)

  • (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….”

  • Stating “I didn’t do it” while knowing one did.

2 exaggerations overstatements or minimizations understatements
(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.)

3 subtle lies omit details
(3) Subtle Lies (Omit details) Minimizations(understatements)

  • Clinton: “Ah did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski…”

  • (Not according to the usual definition: intercourse.)

4 concealment
(4) Concealment… Minimizations(understatements)

  • “How was your day?…mine was as usual…”

  • [Heaven forbid she asks me about my day!]

Why do people lie

Why do people Lie? Minimizations(understatements)

Many reasons
Many reasons: Minimizations(understatements)

  • (1) Material Gain

  • (2) Avoid loss/punishment

  • (3) Avoid embarrassment

  • (4) Make good impression (& get the job)

  • All these involve gain for oneself.

The other kind of other directed lie
The other kind of (Other-directed) Lie: Minimizations(understatements)

  • Altruistic Lies:

    “You made a great impression…”

    Telling a gravely ill person (child) that she will be fine..

Why is it hard to know for sure how often people lie
Why is it hard to know for sure how often people lie? Minimizations(understatements)

Self report fails because people don’t want to recall.

But 2+ times a day is a reasonable occurence.

Whom do people lie to
Whom do people lie to? Minimizations(understatements)

  • Strangers more than close contacts. (Why?)

Attributes on which to classify liars
Attributes on which to classify Liars: Minimizations(understatements)

1 gender
(1) Gender: Minimizations(understatements)

  • Men tell more self-oriented lies.

  • Women tell more other oriented lies

2 age
(2) Age Minimizations(understatements)

  • What is definite minimum age for lies in children? (2,4,6,8,10)

  • What motivates youngest children’s lies? (Gain of say cookies? Avoid punishment? Make a good impression?)

3 personality type
(3) Personality Type Minimizations(understatements)

  • In romantic relations:

  • (a) attachment style: avoidant (lack of trust, keep people at distance)…..these folks lie to keep others at a distance.


  • anxious attachments: lack of self-esteem. These people lie to look good as they feel bad.

B psychopathy
(b) Psychopathy Minimizations(understatements)

  • 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…

C extraverts and introverts
(c) Extraverts and introverts Minimizations(understatements)

  • Outward/sociable vs. reserved.

  • Which are the bigger liars?

D self consciousness
(d) Self-consciousness: Minimizations(understatements)

  • 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.

Are there non verbal behavioral lie signals
Are there non-verbal, behavioral lie signals? Minimizations(understatements)

(Are we all on same page? What are these?)

Psychology 323 deception

We wish we had a Pinocchio's nose indicator Minimizations(understatements)

Dipaolo s group emphasizes 3 theoretical perspectives
DiPaolo’s group emphasizes 3 theoretical perspectives: Minimizations(understatements)

  • During deception, 3 phenomena occur:

  • 1) emotional reactions: guilt, fear----and delight. (delight?)

  • Guilt  low eye contact

  • Fear  stuttering, blinks, squeals.

  • Delight (of duper) excitement, inappropriate laughter. (Ekman)

What else does liar experience
What else does liar experience? Minimizations(understatements)

  • 2) mental 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.

Remember: Minimizations(understatements)

These are theories of what should happen. Moreover…

These effects are affected by certain factors e g
…these effects are affected by certain factors, e.g., Minimizations(understatements)

  • 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 audience. Also, if it’s a big conquest, or else, no.

Psychology 323 deception
More… Minimizations(understatements)

  • 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!)

  • SELF CONTROL depends on Psychopathy.

Vrij is a pain but best we have e g box 3 1 p 47
Vrij is a pain, but best we have..(E.g.Box 3.1 p. 47)…. Minimizations(understatements)

  • …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.)

Field studies define
Field Studies.(Define.) lying:

  • We want to compare liars vs. truth-tellers, but…


    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…

Ok how about lab studies
OK, how about lab studies? lying:

  • 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).


Bottom line
Bottom Line: lying:

  • Vrij’s Appendix 3.1 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 in d’ from SDT).

Dramatically: lying:

  • Is there such a thing as “lyin’ eyes?” Are gaze or eye contact helpful?

  • Are liars more emotional than truth tellers? Why or why not?

Vrij s group differences p 67
Vrij’s “Group Differences” (p.67)…. lying:

  • Very suspect!

  • As is rest of chapter about Clinton, Saddam Hussein, Huntley.

  • Amazing that he says look for the cluster of c(l)ues to deception, not single c(l)ues. Which cluster? “There is no straightforward answer….”

Verbal signs cues clues about deception
Verbal signs ("cues" clues?) about deception: lying:

That is….speech signs…

Vrij description of possible verbal signs cues
Vrij description of possible verbal signs (“cues”)… lying:

  • ….as in his box 4.1 list is mostly pathetic, i.e., wrong (imho).

  • On the other hand, sometimes one has to say, “duhhh!” as when he states that direct statements are more credible than evasive ones.

  • Obviously plausibility helps! As does consistency (lack of contradiction).

But vrij best statement is
But Vrij best statement is… lying:

  • “As I will demonstrate, a verbal cue uniquely related to deception, akin to Pinocchio's growing nose, does not exist.” (p. 103)

  • Again, an appendix(4.1) shows some trends & group effects as supporting some views in Box 4.1.

  • Again, clusters> singles. But which cluster? No one knows.

Vrij indulges himself with many i think type ideas
Vrij indulges himself with many “I think..” type ideas. lying:

  • That’s fine. Be sure you do not confuse these hypotheses for facts!

  • Note: people & researchers always start out with what appears obvious, like twitches & speech signs. These all are ultimately controllable, unlike physiology (looking ahead).

Henceforth…. lying:

  • We will be looking at more specialized and developed approaches to detecting deception. Vrij still likes “more immediate” (non-physiological) tools, because they are allegedly quick, easy, & cheap. Imho, he stretches things by emphasizing how laborious some methods are...

Psychology 323 deception
OK, lying:

  • fMRI requires a $1M+ machine and an annual budget of >$1M…

  • But when Vrij states (p. 189) that EEG/ERP recording usually requires 10 or more scalp electrodes, he exaggerates: 2 (actually 1) will do, and it takes only 5 minutes to hook up.

  • But Vrij & we will go on with SVA, RM & SCAN, imho, unphysiological extensions of what we just did…

More complex behavioral methods
More complex behavioral methods: lying:

Reality Monitoring, Statement Validity Assessment, & Scientific Content Analysis.

Reality monitoring
Reality Monitoring… lying:

  • RM started not as a DoD method, but rather as a discipline in Cognitive Psychology to study on a theoretical basis, the differences between perceived versus imagined experience; as with false (but honestly believed) memories.

What are the characteristics of real versus false memories
What are the characteristics of Real versus False Memories…..

  • …with regard to:

  • Sensory Information?

  • Contextual Information?

  • Affective information?

  • Think of dimensions of clarity versus vagueness?

  • Give examples of what you might actually remember about an event.

This q a system of m johnson sorta works but
This Q & A system of M. Johnson sorta works, but… Memories…..

  • What happens as time passes?

  • So what do you remember better, last week or when you were 3?

Actually… Memories…..

  • Actually, it turns out that Physiology (ERPs) come to the rescue again regarding false memories…

  • …as we will see later.

If rm is not a perfect false memory detector then why
If RM is not a perfect false memory detector, then why.. Memories…..

…would we think this strategy would be a good deception detector?

Are there differences between false memories and deceptions?

HINT: What do subjects believe about veracity of f.m. and lies?

Rm criteria after sporer 97 with some overlap with cbca
RM Criteria (after Sporer ‘97) with some overlap with CBCA Memories…..

  • From Vrij Table 9.1. The first 7 should be there in true statements.

  • Clarity—clear sharp, vivid statements

  • Perceptual info.—details of smell, sound, etc.

  • Spatial info.—details of location, seating arrangement, object location.

  • Temporal Info– When things happened, and in what order.


Four more
Four more… Memories…..

5. Affect detail—How subject felt:” I was disgusted when I saw the body…”

6. Reconstructability of the testimony in detail.

7. Realism: Is the story plausible, realistic, logical?

8. Cognitive operations. Should be less in true story: It shouldn’t be necessary to make inferences: “He appeared nervous.”

The rm method usually involves 2 raters scoring tape
The RM method usually involves 2+ raters scoring tape. Memories…..

  • Inter-rater reliability should be and is found by research to be high. Good as CBCA, anyway.

  • Vrij thinks it’s easier to learn and teach, because…

  • There are fewer criteria which are more concrete and thus less subject to interpretation.

Vrij s review of rm research in appendix 9 1 has limitations
Vrij’s review of RM research in Appendix 9.1 has limitations:

  • Not all reviewed studies are peer-reviewed publications.

  • Not all studies are given!

  • Scoring not standardized.

  • Some listings lack inter-rater data.

  • Only recent events are studied.

  • RM is problematic in children.

  • Etc, etc. maybe not important ….

...because: limitations:

  • Appendix 9.1 shows a mostly mixed pattern.

  • Average accuracy is 68.8 % overall, which mean many false alarms (about 29% in truth tellers) and misses (about 34% in liars). I.e., group but not individual results.Yes, RM beats flipping a coin, but not by much. More work is needed. (Physiology wins.)

Psychology 323 deception