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Culture Moderates Changes in Linguistic Self-presentation and Detail Provision when Deceiving Others

Larner, SD and Taylor, PJ and Conchie, S and Menacere, T (2017) Culture Moderates Changes in Linguistic Self-presentation and Detail Provision when Deceiving Others. Royal Society Open Science, 4 (6). ISSN 2054-5703

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Abstract

Change in our language when deceiving is attributable to differences in the affective and cognitive experience of lying compared to truth telling, yet these experiences are also subject to substantial individual differences. On the basis of previous evidence of cultural differences in self-construal and remembering, we predicted and found evidence for cultural differences in the extent to which truths and lies contained self (versus other) references and perceptual (versus social) details. Participants (N = 320) of Black African, South Asian, White European and White British ethnicity completed a catch-the-liar task in which they provided genuine and fabricated statements about either their past experiences or an opinion and counter-opinion. Across the four groups we observed a trend for using more/fewer first-person pronouns and fewer/more third-person pronouns when lying, and a trend for including more/fewer perceptual details and fewer/more social details when lying. Contrary to predicted cultural differences in emotion expression, all participants showed more positive affect and less negative affect when lying. Our findings show that liars deceive in ways that are congruent with their cultural values and norms, and that this may result in opposing changes in behaviour.

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