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Human Lie-Detection Performance: Does Random Assignment versus Self-Selection of Liars and Truth-Tellers Matter?

Journal article
Authors Karl Ask
Sofia Calderon
Erik Mac Giolla
Published in Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
ISSN 22113681
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.20...
Keywords Deception, Detection strategy, Lie detection, Random assignment, Self-selection
Subject categories Applied Psychology, Cognitive science, Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology), Psychology

Abstract

Deception research has been criticized for its common practice of randomly allocating senders to truth-telling and lying conditions. In this study, we directly compared receivers’ lie-detection accuracy when judging randomly assigned versus self-selected truth-tellers and liars. In a trust-game setting, senders were instructed to lie or tell the truth (random assignment; n = 16) or were allowed to choose to lie or tell the truth of their own accord (self-selection; n = 16). In a sample of receivers (N = 200), we tested two alternative hypotheses, predicting opposite effects of random assignment (vs. self-selection) on receivers’ lie-detection accuracy. Accuracy rates did not differ significantly as a function of veracity assignment, failing to support the claim that random assignment of liars and truth-tellers alters the detectability of deception. Equivalence tests indicated that, while a small effect of random assignment cannot be ruled out, moderate (or larger) effect sizes are unlikely.

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