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Increasing skepticism toward potential liars: effects of existential threat on veracity judgments and the moderating role of honesty norm activation.

Schindler S, Reinhard MA - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: With the present research, we investigated effects of existential threat on veracity judgments.In a first study, we found initial evidence for this assumption.Results revealed evidence for our prediction.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Kassel Kassel, Germany.

ABSTRACT
With the present research, we investigated effects of existential threat on veracity judgments. According to several meta-analyses, people judge potentially deceptive messages of other people as true rather than as false (so-called truth bias). This judgmental bias has been shown to depend on how people weigh the error of judging a true message as a lie (error 1) and the error of judging a lie as a true message (error 2). The weight of these errors has been further shown to be affected by situational variables. Given that research on terror management theory has found evidence that mortality salience (MS) increases the sensitivity toward the compliance of cultural norms, especially when they are of focal attention, we assumed that when the honesty norm is activated, MS affects judgmental error weighing and, consequently, judgmental biases. Specifically, activating the norm of honesty should decrease the weight of error 1 (the error of judging a true message as a lie) and increase the weight of error 2 (the error of judging a lie as a true message) when mortality is salient. In a first study, we found initial evidence for this assumption. Furthermore, the change in error weighing should reduce the truth bias, automatically resulting in better detection accuracy of actual lies and worse accuracy of actual true statements. In two further studies, we manipulated MS and honesty norm activation before participants judged several videos containing actual truths or lies. Results revealed evidence for our prediction. Moreover, in Study 3, the truth bias was increased after MS when group solidarity was previously emphasized.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Means of detection accuracy of actual lies (in %) as a function of norm activation and salience condition in Study 2.
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Figure 2: Means of detection accuracy of actual lies (in %) as a function of norm activation and salience condition in Study 2.

Mentions: Overall, the mean percentage of correct lie-truth classifications was 56.22% (SD = 11.53). On average, participants were significantly better than chance in their lie-truth classifications, t(155) = 6.74, p < 0.001. Results of the mixed-model design ANOVA revealed a main effect of the type of message, indicating that participants were better at classifying truthful messages as actually true (M = 59.62%, SD = 13.82) than they were at classifying deceptive messages as actual lies (M = 52.83%, SD = 16.81), F(1,152) = 18.92, p < 0.001, = 0.11 (veracity effect). Furthermore, the predicted three-way interaction between salience and norm activation and type of message occurred, F(1,152) = 5.01, p = 0.027, = 0.03. Simple effects analyses for detection accuracy for actual lies within the honesty condition revealed that participants under MS were better (M = 57.50%, SD = 13.84) compared to the TV control condition (M = 49.38%, SD = 19.92), F(1,152) = 6.44, p = 0.012 (see Figure 2). Additionally, and in line with our argument that activating the norm of honesty should be responsible for this effect, simple effects within the MS condition showed that participants in the honesty condition were also better at detecting actual lies (M = 57.50%) than participants in the no-activation control condition (M = 49.22%), F(1,152) = 5.95, p = 0.016. Simple effects within the no-activation control condition indicated that participants under MS (M = 49.22%, SD = 14.72) were not significantly worse compared to participants in the TV control condition (M = 54.36%, SD = 16.91), F(1,152) = 2.39, p = 0.124. Regarding detection accuracy for actual true messages, no effects occurred (accuracy ranged from 58.33 to 60.94%), all Fs < 1.


Increasing skepticism toward potential liars: effects of existential threat on veracity judgments and the moderating role of honesty norm activation.

Schindler S, Reinhard MA - Front Psychol (2015)

Means of detection accuracy of actual lies (in %) as a function of norm activation and salience condition in Study 2.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4555659&req=5

Figure 2: Means of detection accuracy of actual lies (in %) as a function of norm activation and salience condition in Study 2.
Mentions: Overall, the mean percentage of correct lie-truth classifications was 56.22% (SD = 11.53). On average, participants were significantly better than chance in their lie-truth classifications, t(155) = 6.74, p < 0.001. Results of the mixed-model design ANOVA revealed a main effect of the type of message, indicating that participants were better at classifying truthful messages as actually true (M = 59.62%, SD = 13.82) than they were at classifying deceptive messages as actual lies (M = 52.83%, SD = 16.81), F(1,152) = 18.92, p < 0.001, = 0.11 (veracity effect). Furthermore, the predicted three-way interaction between salience and norm activation and type of message occurred, F(1,152) = 5.01, p = 0.027, = 0.03. Simple effects analyses for detection accuracy for actual lies within the honesty condition revealed that participants under MS were better (M = 57.50%, SD = 13.84) compared to the TV control condition (M = 49.38%, SD = 19.92), F(1,152) = 6.44, p = 0.012 (see Figure 2). Additionally, and in line with our argument that activating the norm of honesty should be responsible for this effect, simple effects within the MS condition showed that participants in the honesty condition were also better at detecting actual lies (M = 57.50%) than participants in the no-activation control condition (M = 49.22%), F(1,152) = 5.95, p = 0.016. Simple effects within the no-activation control condition indicated that participants under MS (M = 49.22%, SD = 14.72) were not significantly worse compared to participants in the TV control condition (M = 54.36%, SD = 16.91), F(1,152) = 2.39, p = 0.124. Regarding detection accuracy for actual true messages, no effects occurred (accuracy ranged from 58.33 to 60.94%), all Fs < 1.

Bottom Line: With the present research, we investigated effects of existential threat on veracity judgments.In a first study, we found initial evidence for this assumption.Results revealed evidence for our prediction.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Kassel Kassel, Germany.

ABSTRACT
With the present research, we investigated effects of existential threat on veracity judgments. According to several meta-analyses, people judge potentially deceptive messages of other people as true rather than as false (so-called truth bias). This judgmental bias has been shown to depend on how people weigh the error of judging a true message as a lie (error 1) and the error of judging a lie as a true message (error 2). The weight of these errors has been further shown to be affected by situational variables. Given that research on terror management theory has found evidence that mortality salience (MS) increases the sensitivity toward the compliance of cultural norms, especially when they are of focal attention, we assumed that when the honesty norm is activated, MS affects judgmental error weighing and, consequently, judgmental biases. Specifically, activating the norm of honesty should decrease the weight of error 1 (the error of judging a true message as a lie) and increase the weight of error 2 (the error of judging a lie as a true message) when mortality is salient. In a first study, we found initial evidence for this assumption. Furthermore, the change in error weighing should reduce the truth bias, automatically resulting in better detection accuracy of actual lies and worse accuracy of actual true statements. In two further studies, we manipulated MS and honesty norm activation before participants judged several videos containing actual truths or lies. Results revealed evidence for our prediction. Moreover, in Study 3, the truth bias was increased after MS when group solidarity was previously emphasized.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus