Language dominance in interpersonal deception in computer-mediated communication

Lina Zhou, Judee K. Burgoon, Dongsong Zhang, Jay F. Nunamaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Dominance is not only a complicated social phenomenon that involves interpersonal dynamics, but also an effective strategy used in various applications such as deception detection, negotiation, and online community. The extensive literature on dominance has primarily focused on the personality traits and socio-biological influence, as well as various nonverbal and paralinguistic behaviors associated with dominance. Nonetheless, language dominance manifested through dynamically acquired linguistic capability and strategies has not been fully investigated. The exploration of language dominance in the context of deception is even rarer. With the increasing use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) in all aspects of modern life, language dominance in CMC has emerged as an important issue. This study examines language dominance in the context of deception via CMC. The experimental results show that deceivers: (1) demonstrate a different trend of language dominance from truthtellers over time; (2) manipulate the level of language dominance by initiating communication with low dominance and gradually increasing the level over the course of interaction, and (3) display higher levels of dominance in terms of some linguistic behaviors than truthtellers. They suggest that in CMC, deceivers not only adjust the level of language dominance more frequently, but also change it more remarkably than truthtellers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-402
Number of pages22
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Dominance
  • Interpersonal deception
  • Linguistic behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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