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From the discovery to rationalization of others' lies: How perceivers process and judge deception

Brent Weiss, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The present project tested a theoretical framework for the deception judgment process. The framework argues that the deception judgment process begins when a perceiver first becomes suspicious of deception. This engages the perceiver to attempt to verify the speaker's claims. If the claims are deemed untrue, in an effort to classify the statement as a lie, the perceiver then examines the speaker's motives. If deemed a lie, the perceiver decides what to do about the deception, often taking into consideration the speaker's motives for lying. Three studies tested this framework. The first study examined the information perceivers used to distinguish lies from non-lies; the second study examined how the various forms of information were utilized and weighed in the deception judgment process; and finally, the third study examined the information processing strategies perceivers used to process deception. Overall, it was found that perceivers used several forms of information (e.g., logical inconsistencies, facts, and motives) when considering and judging deception. However, only facts were used to draw a conclusion regarding a statement's deceptiveness. In terms of processing strategies, support was found for an information-processing ordering effect consistent with the proposed model. Implications and future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Weiss, Brent, "From the discovery to rationalization of others' lies: How perceivers process and judge deception" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3206196.