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The Effect of Personality Variables on the Ability to Deceive Sarah Vogt Hanover College.

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Presentation on theme: "The Effect of Personality Variables on the Ability to Deceive Sarah Vogt Hanover College."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Effect of Personality Variables on the Ability to Deceive Sarah Vogt Hanover College

2 Research Question Are people with certain personality characteristics better able to deceive?

3 Personality Variables: Symptoms of Psychopathy Why are they related to deception? Those with psychopathic symptoms are often compulsive liars and manipulators What is it? Robert Hare (1999): Key Symptoms of Psychopathy: –Interpersonal: superficiality and lack of empathy –Social Deviance: impulsivity and the need for excitement –Focused on symptoms instead of psychopathy as a general concept--there are many contributing personality variables

4 Research on Deception Ekman & Friesen (1974): suppressing anxiety when lying in one channel (e.g., voice) can cause it to “leak” through another channel (e.g., face): “nonverbal leakage”= poor deception Female nurses saw 2 videos (1 pleasant, 1 unpleasant): told to act as if they were watching both pleasant Result: more anxiety during unpleasant clip Similar to my study: Method for measuring nonverbal leakage using exposure to video clips rather than lying—need reason to feel anxious

5 Procedure Overview Informed Consent Complete questionnaire or watch clips (eliminate order effects) Debriefing and Permission

6 Participants Young men and women (N = 21), aged men, 16 women All were Caucasian

7 Measuring Symptoms of Psychopathy (“Attitude Assessment”) Based on Hare’s (1999) Psychopathy Checklist--10 symptoms measured, 3-6 questions for each symptom (Likert Scale-based) –Lack of Guilt: “When I know I have done wrong, I feel really bad inside.” (r) –Willingness to Manipulate: “I can get myself out of trouble easily and feel okay about it.”

8 The Participant’s Task 11 video clips Clips unpleasant (horror) and pleasant/neutral (other films). Instructed to conceal emotion as if watching all pleasant/neutral clips (Ekman & Friesen, 1974) Face was videotaped Permission granted to record video and use in presentation Red Dragon (unpleasant) Sideways (pleasant)

9 Detecting Deception Clips for each participant reassembled in random order Nonverbal leakage score for each clip: –0 = no nonverbal leakage –1 = some nonverbal leakage –2 = significant nonverbal leakage

10 Measuring Deception Measured departure from neutral/positive reaction (0, 1, 2): level of “nonverbal leakage” –Were instructed to maintain neutral/positive reaction (typical leakage = fear, disgust) Lower overall nonverbal leakage score = hypothesized to be the better deceivers Ran dependent t-test between ratings for pleasant and unpleasant films: very accurate at t(20) = 8.07, p = 2.17 x 10 -7

11 Hypothesis

12 Results: Deception and Lack of Guilt r(21) = , p =.029

13 Results: Deception and Willingness to Manipulate r(21) = , p =.023

14 Other Results All other psychopathy symptoms not correlated with nonverbal leakage: Egocentricity: r = -.04, p =.87 Superficiality: r = -.22, p =.38 Lack of empathy: r = -.32, p =.18 Impulsivity: r = -.05, p =.85 Need for excitement: r = -.30, p =.20 Lack of responsibility: r = -.18, p =.46 Early behavior problems: r = -.26, p =.28 Adult antisocial behavior: r = -.02, p =.93

15 Discussion/Limitations There were personality traits related to the ability to deceive: lack of guilt and willingness to manipulate –Lack guilt (do not feel guilty when doing wrong): may be better liars because they do not feel guilty for lying, thus showing less emotion when lying –Willingness to manipulate (skilled and willing to manipulate): may be better liars because they practice it regularly Helps explain why people we know are such good liars More participants in May 2007

16 Questions?


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