Cultural Background Linked to How People Deceive Others

Summary: According to researchers, a person’s cultural background influences their language changes when they enter into a deceptive statement.

Source: Lancaster University.

Did you know that there’s a link between one’s cultural background and his/her language change while lying?

Psychologists have discovered that people’s language change when they lie depends on their cultural background.

Professor Paul Taylor of Lancaster University in the UK said, “Science has long known that people’s use of language changes when they lie. Our research shows that prevalent beliefs about what those changes look like are not true for all cultures.”

The researchers asked participants of Black African, South Asian, White European and White British ethnicity to complete a Catch-the-Liar task in which they provided genuine and false statements.

They found the statements of Western liars tend to include fewer first-person “I” pronouns than the statements of truth-tellers. This is a common finding and believed to be due to the liar trying to distance themselves from the lie.

However, they did not find this difference when examining the lies of Black African and South Asian participants. Instead, these participants increased their use of first person pronoun and decreased their third person “he/she” pronouns, they sought to distance their social group rather than them self from the lie.

There were also differences in the kinds of contextual details reported. The White European and White British participants followed the known trend of decreasing the perceptual information they provided in their lie. In contrast, the Black African and South Asian participants increased the perceptual information they gave when lying, to compensate for providing less social details.

“The results demonstrate that linguistic cues to deception do not appear consistently across all cultures. The differences are dictated by known cultural differences in cognition and social norms.”

This has implications for everything from forensic risk assessments, discrimination proceedings and the evaluation of asylum seekers.

Image shows two tailor dummies.

They found the statements of Western liars tend to include fewer first-person “I” pronouns than the statements of truth-tellers. This is a common finding and believed to be due to the liar trying to distance themselves from the lie. NeuroscienceNews.com image is for illustrative purposes only.

“In the absence of culture-specific training, an individual’s judgement about veracity is most likely drawn from either experience or an evidenced-based understanding based on studies of Western liars. In these scenarios, erroneous judgement of veracity may impact on justice.?

Adding, “In today’s world, where law enforcement and justice are asked to respond to a greater cultural diversity of suspect it will be important to use findings such as those presented here to adapt existing practices and policies so that they afford justice for all communities within the population.”

About this neuroscience research article

Source: Lancaster University
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Full open access research for “Culture moderates changes in linguistic self-presentation and detail provision when deceiving others” by Paul J. Taylor, Samuel Larner, Stacey M. Conchie, and Tarek Menacere in Royal Society Open Science. Published online June 7 2017 doi:10.1098/rsos.170128

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
Lancaster University “Cultural Background Linked to How People Deceive Others .” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 7 June 2017.
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Lancaster University (2017, June 7). Cultural Background Linked to How People Deceive Others . NeuroscienceNew. Retrieved June 7, 2017 from http://neurosciencenews.com/culture-differences-deception-6852 /
Lancaster University “Cultural Background Linked to How People Deceive Others .” http://neurosciencenews.com/culture-differences-deception-6852 / (accessed June 7, 2017).

Abstract

Culture moderates changes in linguistic self-presentation and detail provision when deceiving others

Change in our language when deceiving is attributable to differences in the affective and cognitive experience of lying compared to truth telling, yet these experiences are also subject to substantial individual differences. On the basis of previous evidence of cultural differences in self-construal and remembering, we predicted and found evidence for cultural differences in the extent to which truths and lies contained self (versus other) references and perceptual (versus social) details. Participants (N = 320) of Black African, South Asian, White European and White British ethnicity completed a catch-the-liar task in which they provided genuine and fabricated statements about either their past experiences or an opinion and counter-opinion. Across the four groups we observed a trend for using more/fewer first-person pronouns and fewer/more third-person pronouns when lying, and a trend for including more/fewer perceptual details and fewer/more social details when lying. Contrary to predicted cultural differences in emotion expression, all participants showed more positive affect and less negative affect when lying. Our findings show that liars deceive in ways that are congruent with their cultural values and norms, and that this may result in opposing changes in behaviour.

“Culture moderates changes in linguistic self-presentation and detail provision when deceiving others” by Paul J. Taylor, Samuel Larner, Stacey M. Conchie, and Tarek Menacere in Royal Society Open Science. Published online June 7 2017 doi:10.1098/rsos.170128

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