Synchronization of Nonverbal Behaviors in Detecting Mediated and Non-mediated Deception

Norah E. Dunbar, Matthew L. Jensen, Debra Conly Tower, Judee K. Burgoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Videoconferencing (VC) is changing the way people communicate in a variety of fields including education, medicine, business, and even interpersonal relationships. In this study, we investigate the effects of the modality of communication, whether through face-to-face (FtF) or VC, on the ability of interactants to develop and maintain nonverbal synchrony. This study is an analysis of 101 interviews between students and professional interviewers in which some of the participants were induced to cheat on a task with a confederate. The results revealed that the VC modality hampered the interactional synchrony of the dyads, especially during the phases of questioning when suspicion-inducing or accusatory questioning was used. For global ratings of synchrony, the greatest impact of modality was for participants whose lies were not sanctioned by the interviewer, suggesting that the VC modality negatively affected the most skilled deceivers. In addition, interactional synchrony improved in the final, accusatory, phase of the interview when subjects confessed, particularly in the FtF modality. The effects of the interviewer and the question type are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-376
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Nonverbal Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Deception detection
  • Interpersonal adaptation
  • Nonverbal synchrony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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