Interpersonal deception: III. Effects of deceit on perceived communication and nonverbal behavior dynamics

Judee K. Burgoon, David B. Buller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Much past research on deception has examined it individually and noninteractively. Here we argue for broadening our understanding of deception by examining it as a dyadic and interactive event. Assumptions of an interpersonal perspective, articulated in Interpersonal Deception Theory, are advanced. These include recognizing the agency of both parties to interpersonal exchanges, examining such exchanges at multiple levels, incorporating measures of communicationrelated perceptions and interpretations as well as behaviors, recognizing that behaviors may be strategic as well as nonstrategic, and viewing such behavior as dynamic rather than static. An experiment reflecting this orientation is presented in which pairs of participants, half friends and half strangers, conducted interviews during which interviewees (EEs) either lied or told the truth to interviewers (ERs) who were induced to be highly, moderately, or not suspicious. Dependent measures included participant (EE and ER) perceptions, interpretations, and evaluations of EE behaviors and trained coders' ratings of actual nonverbal behaviors. Consistent with the theory, deceivers were more uncertain and vague, more nonimmediate and reticent, showed more negative affect, displayed more arousal and non-composure, and generally made a poorer impression than truthtellers. Their behaviors also connoted greater formality and submissiveness. Also consistent with the theory's premise that deceptive interactions are dynamic, deceivers' kinesic relaxation and pleasantness changed over time, in line with a behavior and image management interpretation, and degree of reciprocity between EE and ER nonverbal behaviors was affected by the presence of deception and suspicion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-184
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Nonverbal Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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