Dichotomous and continuous views of deception: A reexamination of deception ratings in information manipulation theory

Academic Article


  • Several recent theoretical approaches, including Information Manipulation Theory (IMT), propose that deceptive messages are best understood as varying along two or more dimensions. At the same time, researchers have increasingly moved from dichotomous deception judgments to continuous deception ratings. This paper questions the validity of scaling degrees of deceptiveness along a single dimension, and argues that gradations in message features do not necessarily translate into degrees of deceit. Most conceptual definitions of deception treat deception as a binary construct, and the continuous scaling of perceptions of deceptiveness may confound perceptions of measure features, degrees of moral condemnation, and judgmental confidence with perceptions of deception. A study (N = 194) is reported that replicates previous tests of IMT with both continuous and dichotomous measures of deception. The results show that the data remain consistent with IMT when dichotomous judgments are examined. However, comparing the results from dichotomous and continuous measures, and examining of the distributions of continuous deception ratings qualify previous IMT findings. The implications for measuring deception are discussed. © 2001 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Levine TR
  • Start Page

  • 230
  • End Page

  • 240
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 3