A critical analysis of the behavioral adaptation explanation of the probing effect

Academic Article


  • Deception researchers interested in the effects of interrogative probing repeatedly have documented that probed sources are rated as more honest than nonprobed sources. This finding has been labeled "the probing effect." The commonly accepted explanation for the probing effect is the behavioral adaptation explanation (BAE). The BAE posits that probing causes message sources to strategically adapt behavioral cues so as to appear "honest." This behavioral adaptation subsequently causes message recipients to perceive probed sources as truthful. Across several published studies and convention papers, researchers have claimed empirical support for the BAE. This report documents three problems with the BAE that, taken together, suggest that the BAE cannot account for the probing effect.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Levine TR; McCornack SA
  • Start Page

  • 575
  • End Page

  • 588
  • Volume

  • 22
  • Issue

  • 4