The language of truthful and deceptive denials and confessions

Academic Article


  • This study examined differences in language usage as a function of message veracity and speech act type. A quasi-experiment crossed truthful and deceptive messages with confessions and denials in an induced cheating situation. Transcribed messages were analyzed with Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software. Relative to honest participants, liars exhibited fewer negative emotions, less discrepancy, fewer modal verbs, more modifiers, and they spoke longer. Denials, relative to confessions, were characterized by shorter sentences, more negations, greater discrepancy, fewer past tense verbs, and more present tense verbs. The results are inconsistent with previous findings, suggesting a lack of cross-situational diagnostic utility.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ali M; Levine T
  • Start Page

  • 82
  • End Page

  • 91
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 2