DECEPTION Research and Writing

 

Overview

My interest is in the lying and lie-detecting that goes on in ordinary social life, when people have no polygraphs, brain scans, or any other bells or whistles to help them figure out what is really going on. I have studied lying for more than three decades, and published dozens of papers and chapters and a few books. My research and writing address questions such as: How often do people lie? To whom do they tell their lies? Can people tell when others are lying? and How do ordinary people become extraordinary liars? I have also written about moral issues in my chapter, "The many faces of lies," in the book, The Social Psychology of Good and Evil. The chapter is also available in the book, The Hows and Whys of Lies.

I’ve written about deception for the opinion page for the New York Times and for books about popular television shows such as Dexter and House. I’ve also appeared on various national television and radio shows to talk about the psychology of lying. My deception research has been described in many newspapers and magazines. All that is detailed below.

You may also want to check out the deception section of the BLOG on this website.

 

Behind the Door of Deceit: Understanding the Biggest Liars in Our Lives

From the back cover:

For years, Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard) asked ordinary people to tell her research team about the most serious lies they had ever told, and about the most serious lies that were ever told to them. One after another, they opened up, describing lies about love and sex, cheating and shoplifting, illness and abuse, kinship and adoption, achievements and resources. They told about lies that resulted in the loss of relationships, reputations, and large sums of money. They even described lies that proved deadly. Some admitted to living a lie. Although there was much pain in their accounts, there was also evidence of some remarkable resilience. There are lessons from these hundreds of stories of major deceptions. Dr. DePaulo shares tips for avoiding the temptation to tell serious lies, and explains why some of the most unlikely people can be vulnerable to getting duped.

 

 

 

 

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The Lies We Tell and the Clues We Miss: Professional Papers

From the back cover:

Award-winning social scientist and Harvard Ph.D. Bella DePaulo has been studying the psychology of deceiving and detecting deceit for decades. The Lies We Tell and the Clues We Miss is a collection of six of her most influential professional papers:

  1. Lying in Everyday Life
  2. Who Lies?
  3. Everyday Lies in Close and Casual Relationships
  4. Truth and Investment: Lies Are Told to Those Who Care
  5. Nonverbal Behavior and Self-Presentation
  6. Cues to Deception

The papers are the original reports of research and theory widely cited in other scholarly papers as well as in the national media.

 

The How and Whys of Lies

From the back cover:

The Hows and Whys of Lies” provides brief and accessible answers to some of the most fundamental questions about lying. For example:

1. How often do people lie?

2. What do people lie about?

3. How do liars justify their lies?

4. How do liars tip off their lies?

5. When liars care the most about getting away with their lies, is that when they are most likely to screw up?

6. How good are people at knowing when someone is lying to them?

7. Do people have intuitions about deceptiveness that they don’t know how to tap into?

There are two sections to the book: “The many faces of lies,” and “Discerning lies from truths: Behavioral cues to deception and the indirect pathway of intuition.”


 

Is Anyone Really Good at Detcting Lies? Professional Papers

From the back cover:

The savvy lie-detector has become a staple of popular culture. Human lie detectors, in the papers collected here, are those who skillfully separate truths from lies when observing or interacting with another person – and they do it using just what they can see or hear. It is not just in the media that the legend of the impressive human lie detector thrives – some scholars have endorsed the notion, too. But is it really so?

Ph.D. social psychologists Charles F. Bond Jr. and Bella DePaulo have been studying the psychology of deceiving and detecting deceit for decades. In this anthology, they toss some empirically-grounded skepticism at claims about humans’ abilities to tell when other people are lying. The journal articles address questions such as the following:

1. Maybe ordinary people aren’t so great at detecting lies, but don’t they get more insightful over time as they get to know someone better?

2. What about people who try to detect lies as part of their jobs – and have done so for years: Are they especially successful at knowing when other people are lying?

3. Are there some people who are so talented at detecting lies that they deserve to be called lie-detection wizards?

4. Are there times when other people strike us as dishonest even when they are telling the truth? When might that happen?

5. Suppose we examine every study that has ever been reported on skill at distinguishing lies from truths: What would that lead us to conclude about the human ability to detect lies?

6. Now suppose we scrutinize every available study for evidence of individual differences in the ability to detect lies: Will we find that some people are great and others are awful? Or will we find that some people consistently just look more honest than others, regardless of whether they are lying or telling the truth?


 

 

 

Order in paperback here.
Order from Amazon here.
Order Kindle version here.

 

 

 

 

Order in paperback here
Order from Amazon here.
Order Kindle version here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order in paperback here.
Order from Amazon here.
Order Kindle version here.

 

When the Truth Hurts: Lying to Be Kind

Most people value honesty. They want to tell the truth. They also value kindness. Sometimes, though, honesty and kindness collide. That happens when telling the truth would be hurtful, but being kind involves telling a lie. How do people negotiate this clash of noble intentions?

When the Truth Hurts: Lying to Be Kind is a brief book with two parts. Part 1 is adapted from this chapter: DePaulo, Bella M., Morris, Wendy L., & Sternglanz, R. Weylin (2009). When the truth hurts: Deception in the name of kindness. In Anita L. Vangelisti (Ed.), Feeling hurt in close relationships (pp. 167-190). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In Part 2, questions that various reporters have asked Professor DePaulo over the years are collected and answered.

 

 

 

 
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E-book here.

 

Deception-Relevant Contributions to Other Books (select list)

(For a complete list of my chapters, click here.)

"Everyone lies"
By Bella DePaulo
In House and Psychology
L. L. Martin and T. Cascio (Eds.)

"Deception: It’s what Dexter does best (well, second best)"
By Bella DePaulo
In The Psychology of Dexter
Bella DePaulo (Ed.)

"The many faces of lies"
By Bella M. DePaulo
in The Social Psychology of Good and Evil.
Arthur G. Miller (Ed.)
Also available in the book, The Hows and Whys of Lies

"When the truth hurts: Deception in the name of kindness"
By Bella M. DePaulo, Wendy L. Morris, & R. Weylin Sternglanz
in Feeling Hurt in Close Relationships (Anita L. Vangelisti, Ed.)
Also available in the book, When the Truth Hurts: Lying to Be Kind

"Discerning lies from truths: behavioral cues to deception and the indirect pathway of intuition"
By Bella M. DePaulo and Wendy L. Morris
in The Detection of Deception in Forensic Contexts
Par Anders Granhag and Leif A. Stromwall (Eds.)
Also available in the book, The Hows and Whys of Lies

"Love’s best habit: Deception in the context of relationships"
By D. Eric Anderson, Matthew E. Ansfield, and Bella M. DePaulo
in The Social Context of Nonverbal Behavior
P. Philippot, R.S. Feldman, & E. J. Coats (Eds.)


Media Appearances and Mentions about Deception (select list)

CBS Sunday Morning, Sunday June 10, 2007

The Early Show, September 28, 2007

The Today show, February 6, 2006

NPR (several times)

New York Times:
At airports, a misplaced faith in body language
By John Tierney
March 23, 2014

New York Times:
The search for our inner lie detectors
By Matt Richtel
April 26, 2014

New York Times:
How comfortable are you with lying?
By Michael Gonchar
March 26, 2014

New York Times:
7 lies about lying
By Errol Morris
August 6, 2009

New York Times:
"Lies as wishes"
May 22, 2010

Los Angeles Times
"Detecting a crime before it happens"
By Bob Drogin
May 28, 2010

Nature
Airport security: Intent to deceive?
By Sharon Weinberger
(2010), 465, 412-415

New York Times
"A highly evolved propensity for deceit"
By Natalie Angier
December 23, 2008

New York Times
"I’m Not Lying, I’m Telling a Future Truth. Really."
By Benedict Carey
May 6, 2008

New Yorker
"Duped"
By Margaret Talbot
July 2, 2007

Washington Post
"Almost everyone lies, often seeing it as a kindness"
By Shankar Vedantam
February 19, 2007

USA Today
"Airport security arsenal adds behavior detection"
By Thomas Frank
September 25, 2007

Newsweek
"The truth about lying"
By Jessica Bennett
August 26, 2009

New York Times Magazine
"Looking for the Lie"
By Robin Marantz Henig
February 5, 2006 cover story


Op-Ed Essay about Deception

Bella DePaulo’s contribution to the "Room for Debate" page for the New York Times:
"Politicians and their fake war stories"
May 19, 2010


Lectures about Deception

I have lectured nationally and internationally on deception, addressing a wide variety of groups including

  • attorneys
  • judges
  • physicists
  • polygraph examiners
  • national security personnel
  • mental health professionals
  • high school teachers

Venues have included

  • the NATO Advanced Study Institute in Maratea, Italy
  • the Criminal Lawyers’ Association in Toronto
  • the Fermi National Accelerator Laboraory in Chicago
  • the Advanced Studies Institute for Polygraphers
  • the American Academy of Judicial Education
  • the New York Academy of Sciences

In addition, I have participated in a variety of workshops on deception, such as "The Science of Deception," co-sponsored by the CIA, APA, and the RAND Corporation.


Scholarly Papers about Deception (select list)

(For chapters and essays in various volumes and anthologies, see
Deception-Relevant Contributions to Other Books, above. For a complete list of my deception publications, click here.)

DePaulo, B. M., & Bond, C. F. Jr. (2012). Beyond accuracy: Bigger, broader ways to think about deceit. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1, 120-121.

DePaulo, B. M., & Bond, C. F. Jr. (2012). Deceiving and detecting deceit. In D. Dunn (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Psychology.

DePaulo, B.M., Ansfield, M.E., Kirkendol, S.E., & Boden, J.M. (2004). Serious lies. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 26, 147-167. (Read more of the voices behind the serious lies, plus discussion – jargon-free – in Behind the Door of Deceit: Understanding the Biggest Liars in Our Lives.)

DePaulo, B.M., Kashy, D.A., Kirkendol, S.E., Wyer, M.M. & Epstein, J.A. (1996). Lying in everyday life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 979-995. (Available in The Lies We Tell and the Clues We Miss: Professional Papers.)

Kashy, D.A., & DePaulo, B.M. (1996). Who Lies? Journal of Pesonality and Social Psychology, 70, 1037-1051. (Available in The Lies We Tell and the Clues We Miss: Professional Papers.)

DePaulo, B.M., & Kashy, D.A. (1998). Everyday lies in close and casual relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 63-79. (Available in The Lies We Tell and the Clues We Miss: Professional Papers.)

DePaulo, B.M., & Bell, K.L. (1996). Truth and investment: Lies are told to those who care. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 703-716. (Available in The Lies We Tell and the Clues We Miss: Professional Papers.)

DePaulo, B.M., Lindsay, J. J., Malone, B. E., Muhlenbruck, L., Charlton, K., & Cooper, H. (2003). Cues to deception. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 74-118. (Available in The Lies We Tell and the Clues We Miss: Professional Papers.)

Bond, C. F., Jr., & DePaulo, B. M. (2008). Individual differences in judging deception: Accuracy and bias. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 477-492. (Also available in the book, Is Anyone Really Good at Detecting Lies?)

Bond, C. F., Jr., & DePaulo, B. M. (2008). Individual differences in judging deception: Reply to O’Sullivan (2008) and Pigott and Wu (2008). Psychological Bulletin, 134, 501-503.

Bond, C. F., Jr. & DePaulo, B. M. (2006). Accuracy of deception judgements. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10, 214-234. (Also available in the book, Is Anyone Really Good at Detecting Lies?)

DePaulo, B. M. (1992). Nonverbal behavior and self-presentation. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 203-243. (Available in The Lies We Tell and the Clues We Miss: Professional Papers.)

Anderson, D. E., DePaulo, B. M., & Ansfield, M. E. (2002). The development of deception detection skill: A longitudinal study of same sex friends. Personality and Social Psycholgoy Bulletin, 28, 536-545. (Also available in the book, Is Anyone Really Good at Detecting Lies?)

Bell, K. L., & DePaulo, B. M. (1996). Liking and lying. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 18, 243-266.

DePaulo, B. M., Tang, J., & Stone, J. I. (1987). Physical attractiveness and skill at detecting deception. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 13, 177-187.

Anderson, D. E., DePaulo, B. M., Ansfield, M. E., Tickle, J. J., & Green, E. (1999). Beliefs about cues to deception: Mindless stereotypes or untapped wisdom? Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 23, 67-89.

DePaulo, P. J., & DePaulo, B. M. (1989). Can attempted deception by salespersons and customers be detected through nonverbal behavioral cues? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 19, 1552-1577.

DePaulo, B. M., & Pfeifer, R. L. (1986). On-the-job experience and skill at detecting deception. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 16, 249-267. (Also available in the book, Is Anyone Really Good at Detecting Lies?)

Lane, J. D., & DePaulo, B. M. (1999). Dysphorics’ ability to detect deception: Completing Coyne’s cycle. Journal of Research in Personality, 33, 311-329.

DePaulo, B. M., & Tang, J. (1994). Social anxiety and social judgement: The example of detecting deception. Journal of Research in Personality, 28, 142-153.

Rosenthal, R., & DePaulo, B. M. (1979). Sex differences in eavesdropping on nonverbal cues. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 273-285.

DePaulo, B. M., Lanier, K., & Davis, T. (1983). Detecting the deceit of the motivated liar. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 1096-1103.

DePaulo, B. M., Wetzel, C., Sternglanz, R. W., & Wilson, M. W. (2003). Verbal and nonverbal dynamics of privacy, secrecy, and deceit. Journal of Social Issues, 59, 391-410.

DePaulo, B. M. (1994). Spotting lies: Can humans learn to do better? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 3, 83-86.

DePaulo, B. M., & Rosenthal, R. (1979). Telling lies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1713-1722.

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