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High-stakes lies: Verbal and nonverbal cues to deception in public appeals for help with missing or murdered relativesLow ecological validity is a common limitation in deception studies. The present study investigated the real life, high stake context of public appeals for help with missing or murdered relatives. Behaviours which discriminated between honest and deceptive appeals included some previously identified in research on high stakes lies (deceptive appeals contained more equivocal language, gaze aversion, head shaking, and speech errors), and a number of previously unidentified behaviours (honest appeals contained more references to norms of emotion/behaviour, more expressions of hope of finding the missing relative alive, more expressions of positive emotion towards the relative, more expressions of concern/pain, and an avoidance of brutal language). Case by case analyses yielded 78% correct classifications. Implications are discussed with reference to the importance of using ecologically valid data in deception studies, the context specific nature of some deceptive behaviours, and social interactionist, and individual behavioural profile, accounts of cues to deception.
Subjective cues to deception/honesty in a high stakes situation: An exploratory approachThe low ecological validity of much of the research on deception detection is a limitation recognised by researchers in the field. Consequently, the present studies investigated subjective cues to deception using the real life, high stakes situation of people making public appeals for help with missing or murdered relatives. It was expected that cues related to affect would be particularly salient in this context. Study 1 was a qualitative investigation identifying cues to deception reportedly used by people accurate at detecting deception. Studies 2 and 3 were then empirical investigations which mainly employed the cues reported in Study 1. A number of subjective cues were found to discriminate between honest and deceptive appeals, including some previously unidentified cues, and cues likely to be context-specific. Most could be categorised under the themes of authenticity of emotion, and negative and positive affective reactions to the appealer. It is concluded that some cues to deception may emerge only in real life, high stakes situations; however, it is argued that some of these may be influenced by observers’ perceptions of the characteristics of offenders, rather than acts of deception per se.