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Evidence for the Pinocchio effect: Linguistic differences between lies, deception by omission, and truth Lyn M. Van Swol & Michael T. Braun University.

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Presentation on theme: "Evidence for the Pinocchio effect: Linguistic differences between lies, deception by omission, and truth Lyn M. Van Swol & Michael T. Braun University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evidence for the Pinocchio effect: Linguistic differences between lies, deception by omission, and truth Lyn M. Van Swol & Michael T. Braun University of Wisconsin-Madison Deepak Malhotra Harvard Business School

2 Types of deception Bald-faced lie Omission

3 Lie A: Um, I’m giving you a dollar fifty. R: You’re giving me a dollar fifty. How much did they give you? A: Three dollars. R: You’re lying. You know why? A: Why? R: Because I heard her say she gave you five bucks. A: Well, that’s part of her experiment, she’s trying to fuck with you. Probably shouldn’t say that with the camera..whatever.

4 Omission A: Okay, so I’m allocating 10 dollars to you, so I don’t know if you want 10 dollars or not. R: That’s fine. A: I don’t know if you can deal with that. Okay, so how are you doing?

5 Omission A: I’m giving you ten. R: Ten bucks? So they gave you 20? A: Ten is more than So I figured… R: Yeah. The only thing I’m interested in is if they gave you thirty or not. A: Only if what? R: The only thing I’d have a problem with is if they gave you 30 or not. And I know you wouldn’t dick me over, so. A: And of course, we’d all figure this out later. R: What? A: We could figure this all out later.

6 Non-strategic linguistic cues Pronoun use: first person and third person Negative emotion words and suspicion Swearing and suspicion Higher cognitive load: concreteness, sentence complexity, type-token ratio, connectives

7 Strategic linguistic cues Word count – Pinocchio effect: greater words when reality cannot be verified/no concealment goals – Omission and reduced word count: concealment goal Causation words

8 Modified ultimatum game Endowment amount Roles: Allocator/Recipient Recipient only has knowledge of range of values Allocator allocates endowment between self and recipient Recipient can accept or reject offer If rejected, allocator gets nothing and recipient gets a default amount of 25% of endowment Interactions videotaped and transcribed

9 Method 102 dyads Given either $5/$30 endowment LIWC: Linguistic Word Count Inquiry software

10 VariableM MM First person singular (%) Third person ** (%) Negative affect (%) Profanity** (%) Concreteness # Words before verb Type token ratio Connectives Lies (n = 7) Omission (n = 26) Truth (n = 69) Note. * p < 0.05, ** p <.01 # Higher numbers indicate more concreteness.

11 VariableMMM Word Count** Causation* (%) Money** (%) Note. * p < 0.05, ** p <.01 Lies (n = 7) Omission (n = 26) Truth (n = 69)

12 Role of suspicion VariableMMM Profanity (%) Suspicion No suspicion Word count Suspicion No suspicion Connectives Suspicion No suspicion Lies Omission Truth

13 Multinomial logistic regression to predict offer type Deception Type = Lie Third person pronouns (%) B = 0.95* Number words (%) B = 0.45** Note. * p <.05, ** p <.01

14 Conclusions Importance of context with word count Without verifiable reality: Pinocchio effect With concealment goal: reduced word count Replicated past research with third person pronouns Tentative results about profanity Negative emotion words and suspicion

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