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Cues to deception in context: Response latency/gaps in denials and blame shifting

Authors


Edward Reynolds, School of Journalism and Communication, Joyce Ackroyd Building, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4015, Australia (e-mail: edward.reynolds@uqconnect.edu.au).

Abstract

Over 40 years of work on lying in psychology and communication has investigated numerous ‘cues to deception’– the subtle signals people show when they are lying. One of these cues to deception is ‘response latency’ or the gap that occurs between questions and the lying response. The current investigation uses the methodology of conversation analysis to re-consider the question of response latency in the context of lying. Drawing on data from two naturalistic sources, the television shows COPS and the Jeremy Kyle Show, this investigation analyses response latencies in order to show the regular organization of gaps between turns in both lies and non-lies. The current investigation demonstrates that in blame shifting turns which are lies, any gaps between turns result from a display of upcoming ‘trouble’, rather than being related to lying per se. The investigation highlights the need to analyse lies in the contexts in which they are told, taking prior and subsequent talk into account.

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