Detecting Deception - Deepstash
Detecting Deception

Detecting Deception

Aldert Vrij, Pär Anders Granhag, Bruno Verschuere

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The Leakage Hypothesis

It seems that people believe that the emotions they attribute to liars will be evident in their behaviour – a notion we can call the leakage hypothesis. In the psychological literature, this idea can be traced to Freud (1905, cited in Bond & DePaulo, 2006, p.

215), who wrote, ‘No mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his finger-tips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore’.

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The Leakage Hypothesis

In more recent times, psychological theories of leakage have primarily been explored by Ekman and colleagues (Ekman, 2001; Ekman & Friesen, 1969; see also Porter, Ten Brinke, & Wallace, 2013; Ten Brinke & Porter, 2012).

It is possible that laypeople’s belief in the leakage of cues is grounded in naïve morality, much like the belief that liars experience negative emotions. More specifically, it could be rooted in a general belief in the fairness of the world.

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The Theory of A Belief In A Just World

The theory of a belief in a just world posits that people have a need to perceive the world as a fair place, in which people get what they deserve (Lerner, 1980).

Translated to the current context, the notion that lies will be evident in behaviour fits with a general notion of deservingness: to the extent that lying is perceived as bad behaviour, liars deserve to be found out. Expressed differently, the notion that people can lie effortlessly and without behavioural traces may violate the belief in a just world.

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