Explanations for Visual Cue Primacy in Judgments of Honesty and Deceit

James B. Stiff, Gerald R. Miller, Carra Sleight, Paul Mongeau, Rick Garlick, Randall Rogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Examined the validity of the distraction hypothesis (Maier & Thurber, 1968). Ss were undergraduate students who watched a videotaped interview and rated the veracity of an actress who played the role of a college student. Study 1 disconfirmed the distraction hypothesis. Ss relied on nonverbal cues to make judgments of veracity, but the presence of nonverbal cues did not distract Ss from processing verbal content. Study 2 tested an alternate explanation, the situational familiarity hypothesis. Study 2 found that judgments in familiar situations were influenced primarily by verbal content cues, whereas those in unfamiliar situations were influenced by both verbal and nonverbal cues. Findings indicate that situational factors influence information processing and affect the relative importance of verbal and nonverbal cues in judgments of veracity. Generalizability of prior deception research is questioned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-564
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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