The ability to analyze verbal information (speech content) in order to identify lie is very important, especially in situations when a conversation is held without direct contact, or available only as a written text. In most cases, analysis of verbal lie cues is based on scientific research which analyses oral statements. There are not enough studies investigating the manifestation of verbal lie detection cues in written accounts. So, it is not clear if the methodology used for oral statements analysis can be applied to written accounts. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the manifestation of verbal lie detection cues (visual, sound, temporal, spatial details, and cognitive operations) in truthful and deceptive written and oral accounts.
The participants of this study were 120 11-th and 12-th grade high school students (age, 17–19). All participants were shown a staged videotaped robbery. The participants were sorted into four groups according to their task to produce: deceptive oral, deceptive written, truthful oral, and truthful written stories. Truthful stories had to contain only the information that was shown in a videotape. Those who had to lie had to imagine that the robber was their friend and lied in order to help him. Two independed examinators encoded all stories based on a specially prepared methodology.
The results showed that the manifestation of verbal lie cues differed not only according to the truthfulness of the story, but also according to the stories’ presentation form (oral or written). Truthful oral accounts contained more visual and temporal details and less cognitive operations than did deceptive oral accounts. Deceptive written accounts contained more sound details and more cognitive operations than truthful written accounts. A comparison of written and oral accounts showed that: 1) truthful oral accounts contained more sound details than did truthful written accounts, 2) deceptive written accounts contained more temporal details than did deceptive oral accounts. The manifestation of verbal lie cues was influenced by emotions and efforts to control emotions, behavior, and speech content: stronger emotions and efforts to control can increase the amount of verbal lie cues in oral and written statements. The results showed that the best predictors of lie (oral and written) were visual details and cognitive operations.
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