Publication Date

2011-05-20

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2011-05-20

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense

2011-03-30

First Committee Member

Thomas Steinfatt

Second Committee Member

Diane Millette

Third Committee Member

Cong Li

Abstract

While deception is a common strategy in interpersonal communication, most research on interpersonal deception treats the sex as irrelevant in the ability to detect deceptive messages. This study examines the truth and deception detection ability of both male and female receivers when responding to both true and deceptive messages from both male and female speakers. Results suggest that sex may be an important variable in understanding the interpersonal detection probabilities of truth and of lies. An interaction of variables including speakers’ sex, receivers’ sex, and whether the message is truthful or deceptive is found to relate to detection ability. Both women and men were found to be significantly less accurate than chance in judging the veracity of statements made by men, especially when those statements are lies. On the other hand, both women and men were significantly more accurate than chance in judging the veracity of statements made by women, especially when those statements are truthful. This may suggest that men are better deceivers than women, while women seem more transparent in exhibiting feelings about their messages whether being truthful or deceptive. In recalling real life deceptions discovered previously, women reported that they discovered significantly more lies from female sources than from men they knew. This finding may reflect the previous finding that discovering lies told by women is more likely than is discovering lies told by men.

Keywords

sex differences; deception detection; interpersonal communication; deceptive communication

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