Deceptive language by innocent and guilty criminal suspects: The influence of dominance, question, and guilt on interview responses

Matthew L. Jensen, Elena Bessarabova, Bradley Adame, Judee K. Burgoon, Stanley M. Slowik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


This study proposed that criminal guilt interacts with dominance and interview question to affect linguistic properties during criminal interviews. A field experiment tested effects of criminal guilt, dominance, and question on linguistic properties of suspects' responses using a 2 (criminal guilt: guilty/innocent) × 4 (question: Q1/Q2/Q3/Q4) mixed-model design with dominance as a covariate and question as a repeated factor. Analysis of linguistic properties from 37 criminal interviews indicated a hypothesized two-way interaction among dominance and guilt on immediacy and a three-way interaction among dominance, question, and guilt on complexity explored as part of the research question. Several other direct effects for dominance and question were noted. Implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-375
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • criminal interview
  • deception
  • dominance
  • linguistic analysis
  • Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count
  • question

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Language and Linguistics

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