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Interpersonal Deception Theory

 

Explanations > Theories > Interpersonal Deception Theory

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

Lying happens in a dynamic interaction where liar and listener dance around one another, changing their thoughts in response to each other’s moves. Liar behavior includes:

  • Manipulating information: to distance themselves from the message, so if the message is found to be false, they can extricate themselves. Thus they use vague generalities and talk about other people.
  • Strategically control behavior: to suppress signals that might indicate that they are lying. For example their face may be more impassive and body more rigid.
  • Image management: for example by smiling and nodding more.

Example

Watch  small children who have found out about lying. They point at their siblings, put on their best 'innocent' expression, hold their hands behind their backs. At that age they are very flexible and learn fast. Before long they can pull the wool very well over their parent's eyes. 

So what?

Using it

To detect liars, watch for the above behavioral patterns. People who are liars themselves tend to be better at detecting lying because they know the techniques better.

See also

Four-factor Model

 

References

Buller and Burgoon (1994, 1996), Buller, Strzyzewski and Comstock (1991), Burgoon and Buller (1994)

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