False suspicion and the misperception of deceit


Department of Psychology, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76129, USA


Truth tellers may look dishonest when suspected of lying; if so, perceivers should be vulnerable to mistakes in recognizing the truth. In an experiment we find evidence of this error in truth detection. The error reflects a seeming confirmation of false accusations and is not merely a perceptual distortion. Affective and motivational explanations for the error are considered.