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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

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 between lies, deception by omission, and truth

  • Bald-faced lie

  • Omission


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

  • 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 between lies, deception by omission, and truth

  • 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 between lies, deception by omission, and truth

  • 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 between lies, deception by omission, and truth

  • 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 between lies, deception by omission, and truth

  • 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 between lies, deception by omission, and truth

  • 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 between lies, deception by omission, and truth

  • 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) between lies, deception by omission, and truth

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) between lies, deception by omission, and truth

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


Role of suspicion
Role of suspicion between lies, deception by omission, and truth

Lies Omission Truth


Multinomial logistic regression to predict offer type
Multinomial logistic regression to predict offer type between lies, deception by omission, and truth

Deception Type = Lie

Third person pronouns (%) B = 0.95*

Number words (%) B = 0.45**

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


Conclusions
Conclusions between lies, deception by omission, and truth

  • 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