[PS-1.49] Lying about where the treasure lies: Pragmatic cues to deception in production and comprehension

Loy, J. , Rohde, H. & Corley, M.

University of Edinburgh

If listeners know they might be deceived, they tend to interpret disfluent speech as a sign of dishonesty. However the literature is ambivalent about the behaviours associated with deception in production. We used a two-person deception game to investigate whether listeners' sensitivities reflect valid cues to deception. In each game turn, participants viewed pairs of images, with the location of some treasure indicated to the Speaker but not the Listener. The Speaker described the location of the treasure, with the objective of misleading the Listener about its true location; the Listener attempted to locate the treasure, based on their judgement of the Speaker's veracity. We coded the speech and gestures produced for nineteen potential cues to deception. In line with previous research, Listeners tended to associate disfluency with deception; they were also less likely to trust Speakers who smiled or laughed less. However, Speakers were more disfluent (and made fewer body movements) when telling the truth. We interpret the Speakers' behaviour within the Attempted Control framework, which proposes that liars manipulate their language and behaviour to counteract potential exposure. These manipulations appear to be built on an understanding of the cues that Listeners believe to reveal a deceptive intent.