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Reducing the Odds of Being Deceived

Consistent with the views of deception promulgated by IDT, outlined below you will find the various verbal and non-verbal cues categorized either as strategic or non-strategic, equipping you with a handy arsenal that should assist in ferreting out the deceivers from the truth-tellers at the negotiating table.

Non-Strategic Cues
Individuals engaged in deception can be expected to display the following involuntary leakage cues resulting from their agitation, emotions and cognitive effort:

  1. Increased pupil dilation – deceivers’ pupils tend to widen as they would in dim lighting1
  2. Blinking – deceivers tend to blink more frequently when compared to individuals telling the truth2 
  3. Eye shifting – deceivers will tend to look away, up, down, or to the side, rather than at the person they are speaking to3
  4. Self-adaptors – deceivers tend to use their hands to fondle or manipulate objects or parts of their body4
  5. Elevated speaking pitch – deceivers tend to speak at a higher pitch as compared to someone telling the truth5
  6. Speech errors – deceivers tend to use nonfluencies such as “uh,” “ah,” “um,” or “mm.”6 
  7. Speech pauses – deceivers tend to allow greater periods of silence in between utterances while engaged in a conversation7
  8. Negative statements – deceivers tend to use words like “no,” “not,” “can’t,” and “won’t”8
  9. Leg gesturing and swiveling in chairs – deceivers tend to have more leg twitches, tapping feet, and will either swivel or rock when sitting9
  10. Less hand and head gesturing – deceivers “speak” less with their hands and tend to keep their head still10

1 O’Hair, H.D., Cody, M.J., McLaughlin, M.L. (1981). Prepared lies, spontaneous lies, Machiavellianism, and nonverbal communication. Human Communication Research, 7, 325 – 339.

2 Ekman, P., Friesen, W. V., O’Sullivan, M., & Scherer, K. R. (1980). Relative importance of face, body, and speech in judgments of personality and affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 270 – 277;  Riggio, R. E., & Friedman, H. S. (1983). Individual differences and cues to deception. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 899 – 915.

3 Hocking, J. E., Bauchner, J. E., Kaminski, E. P. & Miller, G. R. (1979). Detecting deceptive communication from verbal, visual and paralinguistic cues. Human Communication Research, 6, 33 – 46.

4 Ekman, P., & Friesen, W.V. (1972). Hand movements. Journal of Communication, 22, 353 – 374;  McClintock, C. C., & Hunt, R. G. (1975). Nonverbal indicators of affect and deception in an interview setting. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 5, 54 – 67.

5 Ekman, Supra note 32;  Ekman, P., Friesen, W. V., & Scherer, K. (1976). Body movements and voice pitch in deceptive interaction. Semiotica, 16, 23 – 27;  Streeter, L. A., Krauss, R. M., Geller, V., Olson, C., & Apple, W. (1977). Pitch changes during attempted deception. Journal of Personality and social Psychology, 35, 345 – 350.

6 Cody, M. J., Marston, P. J., & Foster, M. (1984). Deception: Paralinguistic and verbal leakage. In R. N. Bostrom and B. H. Westley (Eds.), Communication yearbook 8 (pp. 464 – 490). Beverly Hills: Sage;  deTurck, M. A., & Miller, G. R. (1985). Deception and arousal: Isolating the behavioral correlates of deception. Human Communication Research, 12, 181 – 201.

7 Cody, Supra note 36.

8 Mehrabian, A. (1967). Orientation behaviors and nonverbal attitude communication. Journal of Communication, 17, 324 – 332;  Wiener, M. & Mehrabian, A. (1968) Language within language: Immediacy, a channel in verbal communication. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

9 Buller, D. B., & Aune, R. K. (1987). Nonverbal cues to deception among intimates, friends and strangers. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 11, 269 – 290.

10 Ekman, Supra note 34;  Ekman, P. & Friesen, W. V. (1974). Detecting deception from the body or face. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29, 288 – 298.


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June 2006