The authors wish to thank Howard Giles, Cindy Gallois, and the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Requests for reprints should be sent to the first author at the Department of Speech, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2560 Campus Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822.
A Critical Analysis of the Behavioral Adaptation Explanation of the Probing Effect
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2006
Human Communication Research
Volume 22, Issue 4, pages 575–588, June 1996
How to Cite
R.LEVINE, T. and McCORNACK, S. A. (1996), A Critical Analysis of the Behavioral Adaptation Explanation of the Probing Effect. Human Communication Research, 22: 575–588. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1996.tb00380.x
- Issue published online: 17 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 17 MAR 2006
Deception researchers interested in the effects of interrogative probing repeatedly have documented that probed sources are rated as more honest than nonprobed sources. This finding has been labeled “the probing effect.” The commonly accepted explanation for the probing effect is the behavioral adaptation explanation (BAE). The BAE posits that probing causes message sources to strategically adapt behavioral cues so as to appear “honest.” This behavioral adaptation subsequently causes message recipients to perceive probed sources as truthful. Across several published studies and convention papers, researchers have claimed empirical support for the BAE. This report documents three problems with the BAE that, taken together, suggest that the BAE cannot account for the probing effect.