When lies are uncovered: Emotional and relational outcomes of discovered deception

Academic Article


  • The current article explores the impact that the discovery of deception has upon emotional intensity, negativity of emotional reaction, and relational stability for individuals involved in relationships. Drawing upon contemporary conceptualizations of emotion and cognition, several hypotheses and research questions were developed and tested in a sample of 190 subjects who had recently discovered the lie of a relational partner. The results suggest partial support for the model of emotion that is presented. Increases in relational involvement, importance attributed to the information that was lied about, and importance attributed to the act of lying were all positively associated with reported increases in emotional intensity. Increases in suspicion functioned to enhance reported emotional intensity for situations in which either the lie or the act of lying was judged as significant. From both quantitative measures and open-ended responses, the importance of the information that was lied about emerged as the strongest predictor of relational termination. Implications of the current results for the study of deception and emotion are discussed. © 1990, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McCornack SA; Levine TR
  • Start Page

  • 119
  • End Page

  • 138
  • Volume

  • 57
  • Issue

  • 2