Deception Detection in Politics: Can Voters Tell When Politicians are Lying?

Author: Mattes, Kyle; Popova, Valeriia; Evans, Jacqueline R.

Description: In this study, we investigate voters’ unaided perceptions of whether politicians are lying. We conduct an experiment in which participants attempt to uncover politicians’ dishonesty by watching videos of their speeches. We find that verbal cues (specifically, the amount of detail in the speech) and general demeanor cues explain the success (failure) of veracity judgments far better than paraverbal and nonverbal cues. We also find evidence of a truth bias-people are more likely to judge statements to be true than false-despite the political setting, where voters might have been more skeptical. However, gender plays a deterministic role for veracity judgments in political context; female politicians are more likely to be judged as honest.

Subject headings: Cues; Deception; Judgement; Lying; Politicians; Politics; Veracity; Voters

Publication year: 2023

Journal or book title: Political behavior

Volume: 45

Pages: 395-418

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Serial number: 3948