Children's use of gaze, limb movement, vocal pitch and valence cues to infer deception / by Carey Sullivan.
Sullivan, Carey Lee
SubjectNonverbal communication (Psychology)
Trust (Psychology) in children.
Truthfulness and falsehood in children
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A substantial body of research has accumulated on the types of cues individuals use to determine whether others are lying rather than telling the truth (Depaulo, Stone & Lassiter, 1985). The bulk of the research, however, has dealt with adults. The present research was designed to fill in the gap in our knowledge about such processes in children. In particular, the study examined children's use of gaze cues, limb movement cues, vocal pitch cues and valence cues to determine whether others are lying or telling the truth. Children from senior kindergarten, second and fourth grades were presented videotapes of actors who stated their liking and disliking for clothes, movies and T.V. programs. The actors displayed different types of gazes (direct versus indirect), limb movements (active versus nonactive), vocal pitches (high versus normal) and valence (liking versus not liking). The children judged on 3-point scales how much they believed the actors were lying or telling the truth and provided explanations for their judgments. It was found that the children did not use the anxiety cues in their judgments, although they did show consideration of the cues in their explanations. Age differences were found in children’s use of the valence cues in their lying judgments; senior kindergarten and second grade, judged the negative statements as being more indicative of lying than were the positive statements and the reverse was shown by the fourth graders. Close scrutiny of the data revealed that fourth grade children tended to use the anxiety cues in their lying judgments. It was proposed that the children’s use of the anxiety cues may emerge later in development.