Lying to the Ones We Love: Deception Strategies in Intimate Relationships

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Jessen, Jenny
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The Department of Psychology may prepare students with a liberal study, or for work in academia or professional education for law or health-services. Graduates will be able to apply the scientific method to human behavior and mental processes, as well as have ample knowledge of psychological theory and method.
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The goal of this research was to identify communication strategies while deceiving romantic partners. Previous research has shown that lies in romantic partnerships tend to be more altruistic in nature than during close but non-romantic relationships (DePaulo et al., 1997). Lying about feelings and opinions is the most common reported type of lie, followed by actions, plans, and whereabouts (DePaulo, 1996). Current findings indicate that when people are asked to describe deceptive strategies, responses are often contradictory; this is particularly noted in terms of non-verbal strategy (i.e. whether or not to maintain eye contact during deception) (Strömwall et al., 2011). However, we also know that managing one's facial expression is only a part of what is required to appear truthful to others (Frank et al., 2004). To investigate communication strategies used while lying to romantic partners we conducted 33 semi-structured interviews. Participants were asked to recall a time when they believed their romantic partner was lying and to recall a time when they lied to a romantic partner. Subsequent to each narrative response, questions relating to both verbal and nonverbal communication strategies were asked. Data will be analyzed using content analysis (Krippendorf, 2004).