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Journal articles (2021), Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12 (6), pp. 996-1004

The Location of Maximum Emotion in Deceptive and Truthful Texts

Markowitz David M., SEPEHRI Amir , Duclos Rod

Meta-analytic evidence suggests that verbal patterns of emotion betray deceit, but it is presently unclear whether the location of maximum emotion in lies and truths matters to reveal deception. We contribute to the deception literature by offering analyses at the sentence level to locate where emotion is most pronounced in deceptive versus truthful texts. Using two public data sets—news articles (Study 1) and hotel reviews (Study 2)—we found that maximum emotion occurs toward the beginning of deceptive texts while maximum emotion appears later for truthful texts. In addition to demonstrating the effect across diverse settings, we used two different measurements for emotion and separated the results by valence, replicating the maximum emotion effect each time. The predictive nature of maximum affect ranged from 54% to 56% across data sets, a rate consistent with most deception studies using 50-50 lie–truth base rates. Implications for future research and deception theory are discussed. Link to the article

SEPEHRI, A., MARKOWITZ, D.M. and DUCLOS, R. (2021). The Location of Maximum Emotion in Deceptive and Truthful Texts. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12(6), pp. 996-1004.

Keywords : #language, #emotion, #persuasion, #research-methods, #communication