Interpersonal deception: VII. Behavioral Profiles of Falsification, Equivocation, and Concealment

David B. Buller, Judee K Burgoon, Cindy H. White, Amy S. Ebesu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Previous research on deception has typically examined how deceivers behave when falsifying information in a noninteractive context. Guided by Interpersonal Deception Theory, the authors propose that deception may take a variety of forms, reflecting differences in the way senders strategically control message information and the differences in the behavioral profiles accompanying those strategies. The current experiment examined the impact of deception type (falsification, concealment, equivocation), receiver suspicion, receiver expertise, and relational familiarity on strategic and nonstrategic behavior Two adult samples, novices and experts (military intelligence instructors), participated. Interviewers, half of whom were induced to be suspicious, followed a standard protocol of questions. Interviewees answered the first two questions truthfully and then enacted one of the deception forms. Participants evaluated one another's behavior after the interview, and trained coders measured the nonverbal behavior No clear behavioral profile emerged for deception in general. Instead, behaviors associated with deception were strongly influenced by deception type, suspicion, and familiarity, suggesting that preinteractional and interactional features are important determinants of sender behavior. Of the deception types, participants rated equivocation as most brief, vague, and hesitant, whereas falsification was rated lowest on these characteristics. Behaviorally, senders were best able to suppress behavioral activity when equivocating and least able to when falsifying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-395
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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