Believability in Sender Demeanor

New research, conducted by Human Communication Research , suggests that sender demeanor may be the most influential source of variation in deception detection judgments.

Sender Demeanor is the difference in the believability of a message sent by a “sender”, which is independent of the actual honesty of the message.

In this study, published in Human Communication Research, Volume 37, Number 3, July 2011, sender demeanor induction explained as much as 98% of the variance in detection [of deception] accuracy.

Does the person not the message have a greater impact on what one believes?

Three additional studies investigated the behavior profiles of believable senders.  The results suggest a strong impact of sender effects in deception detection.

Do you think that it is too early in the research stage to say that a sender’s believability is the most influential source of variation in deception detection?

5 responses to “Believability in Sender Demeanor”

  1. Russ Conte says:

    In reply, “Do you think that it is too early in the research stage to say that a sender’s believability is the most influential source of variation in deception detection?”

    I don’t know the state of the research. My hunch would be that it is too early, but this is not my area of expertise, so I’m not qualified to say.

    It’s a very interesting hypothesis, and I’d like to see more research on the topic.

    Russ Conte

  2. Keith D. says:

    I’m not certain that I fully understand the concept based on this blog post and the study abstract. I think I would need more information about it, either by reading the study or by a more detailed explanation with perhaps some examples.

    But if I’m understanding it correctly here, it seems like sender demeanor might be among the most influential sources of variation.

    If we look at true crime blogs and the comments that users make about various stories in the news, we can see plenty of examples of people who disagree with each other in which the disagreement appears to be based on their opinion of the individual they’re discussing (the sender?) vs. the actual behavioral or linguistic evidence.

    Then, if we look at the assessments of highly trained and skilled professionals, and include “truth wizards” along with how they arrive at their conclusions, it seems that we see a lot of their assessments are based on a sort of personality assessment of an individual (either through establishing a baseline for the trained professional, or doing so intuitively for the truth wizard) to determine the relative veracity of their message based on whether a particular behavior or statement would fit with that individual in that particular situation. Based on that trait of a truth wizard, and coupled with this study’s conclusion, the two do seem to fit. It would also help to explain why a truth wizard is a truth wizard compared to ordinary individuals.

  3. Keith – these are great points and shed some light onto the somewhat confusing/clinical verbiage the study uses. I think it is very pertinent to bring into the equation “Truth Wizards” as you mentioned. Opinions set aside, this is a very interesting thesis.

  4. To me, as a truth wizard, this is right on the nose. I would say the vast majority of my information comes from demeanor and I balance that with words spoken, behavior, emotions, etc. Demeanor will put me on alert before any other behavior. So for me, demeanor is my baseline, if you will. Love this!

  5. Dunya says:

    Of course Sender Demeanor should be evaluated, however I suggest changing the name to something easier to say, such as sender effect. As it is “the difference in the believability of a message sent by a ‘sender’, which is independent of the actual honesty of the message”, one can conclude that the sender effect has a sort of of “halo effect” or “bystander effect”. Meaning, that the person hearing the news is influenced by the qualities (color, race, beauty, smell, financial success, academic success, clothing….etc..) of the sender and will assert some sort of reference of truth onto what the sender is saying, depending on the qualities presented by the sender, and subjectively interpreted by the hearer.

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