Interpersonal deception: VIII. Further Analysis of Nonverbal and Verbal Correlates of Equivocation from the Bavelas et al. (1990) Research

David B. Buller, Judee K. Burgoon, Aileen L.S. Buslig, James F. Roiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


This article reports on a secondary analysis offive studies performed originally by Bavelas and colleagues in 1990 to further describe the behavioral profile associated with one common type of deception, equivocation. This analysis was grounded in Interpersonal Deception Theory (IDT) posited by Burgoon and Buller in 1994. Ratings of information dimensions revealed that equivocal statements were found to be less clear and conversationally complete than truthful statements. Nonverbal involvement, fluency, dominance, formality cues, time spent talking, response latency, smiling, nodding, and linguistic immediacy cues were compared in responses under conflict (equivocal statements) and no conflict (truthful statements). Consistent with IDT, senders enacted information management (appearing more withdrawn) and behavior management (being more kinesically expressive). Senders also showed arousal (more tension cues), negative affect (less pleasantness), and performance decrements (more filled pauses) when equivocating. This suggested that behavior management was achieved through interchannel compensation; however, equivocation consequently contained channel discrepancies. The behavioral profile of equivocation did not depart substantially from that associated with falsification. Rather, equivocation and falsification showed a general deception profile of greater kinesic expressiveness, shorter response latencies, and more linguistic immediacy in the experiment comparing truthful, falsified, and equivocal replies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-417
Number of pages22
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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