Throughout the course of the last month and a half, I have made a lot of progress towards the first part of my experiment. I had wanted to have 10 girls come in to be the stimuli for my experiment. I had each girl meet me, and choose an envelope with the directions for her. The directions would tell the girl to either go into a wallet and find an ID and put it back, or to take a VISA gift card from the wallet. When she arrived back upstairs she would be informed be interviewed by a member of campus security and that her task was to convince him she didn’t steal the VISA card.
Something that I noticed that was universal among the girls who had stolen the VISA were the stories they told the interviewer. When asked about the purse, all of them told him they hadn’t seen it. The girls who didn’t steal contrasted this – these girls admitted they had seen the purse but hadn’t gone near it.
One challenge I noticed was there were also some girls who were more obvious that they were lying. I was aware going into this experiment that some people are better liars than others, but it was more obvious in this scenario. I am hoping that this doesn’t compromise the validity of the data for my experiment.
I have learned a lot about the differences in the way people take the pressure of an upcoming interview, even if they know it’s not real or that they did not really steal the card. Many of the girls couldn’t help but laugh nervously, or ask if this was some experiment on compliance. It was also much easier for the girls who didn’t steal to go into the interview, which makes sense because they knew they had a clear conscience.
I think, with the few months I had to do this experiment, I made good progress. We had hoped to have 10 girls, but wound up having 7. I think if I continue the experiment, and pick it back up again, I will attempt to get the last three girls, and get the participants for the second half – the two groups who will actually be used to see the effect of education on deception.
My research project is entitled The Effect of Diagnostic Cues Education on Detection of Deception. As the title suggests, I intend to investigate two factors: the discrepancy between people’s beliefs of how accurately they can detect deception versus how well they can detect it in practice. Secondly, I plan to determine if participants can be trained, via education on deception (e.g., verbal and non-verbal indicators), to improve their ability to detect deception.
From this project, I hope to garner a better understanding of both the cues behind deception and how to better detect it myself. Many believe that they are astute and can figure out when we are being lied to, though this is not always the case. In my initial research, I found that most people, even trained professionals such a police, can only detect lies and deception at chance level. Additionally, many studies only focus on people’s native ability to detect deception with no experiments using education about diagnostic cues to help people detect deception. I plan to use this information to generate a paper for publication.
My study will consist of separating participants into groups: one group will not be given any education on deception and will simply have to use their intuition to detect the deception. The other group will receive education about both the verbal and non-verbal signs of deception and then view the same stimuli as the first group and will use their newly acquired knowledge to identify the deception with, hopefully, more success.