Halfe the world knowes not how the other halfe lies: Investigation of verbal and non-verbal signs of deception exhibited by criminal offenders and non-offenders
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2008 The British Psychological Society
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 27–38, February 2008
How to Cite
Porter, S., Doucette, N. L., Woodworth, M., Earle, J. and MacNeil, B. (2008), Halfe the world knowes not how the other halfe lies: Investigation of verbal and non-verbal signs of deception exhibited by criminal offenders and non-offenders. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 13: 27–38. doi: 10.1348/135532507X186653
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 16 March 2006; revised version received 5 February 2007
Purpose. This study examined the verbal and non-verbal behaviours exhibited by criminal offender and non-offender participants while they related planned truthful and deceptive accounts about emotional autobiographical events.
Methods. In a 2 × 2 (participant group × veracity) quasi-experimental design, offenders (N = 27) and university students (N = 38) provided videotaped accounts of four autobiographical emotional events: two honest and two fabricated (counterbalanced). Patterns of behaviour exhibited during the truthful and the deceptive accounts were then compared.
Results. In general, offenders and non-offenders showed similar patterns of deceptive behaviour. Deceptive accounts by both groups contained fewer details than honest accounts. Deception was associated with an increase in illustrator usage and self-manipulations; however, univariate analyses indicated only that offenders exhibited significantly more self-manipulations when lying. A significant interaction emerged in which offenders showed a reduction in smiles when lying about the emotional events, while students showed no difference.
Conclusions. Offenders and students showed similar patterns of lying on most cues. However, unlike non-offenders, offenders smiled less and showed an increase in self-manipulations when lying. We theorize that offenders may have been aware that smiling and laughing are negatively related to perceived credibility in the speaker and used self-manipulations to distract listeners from the content of their lies.