Revisiting Perceiver and Target Gender Effects in Deception Detection

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology


Existing research is inconclusive regarding the influence of perceiver gender and target gender on lie detection. Researchers have offered a number of conclusions regarding gender effects in deception detection (e.g., women are better at lie detection than men, participant and target gender interact in predicting deception detection accuracy, there are no gender effects in deception detection). In the current work, we revisit the question of whether and how gender influences lie detection, employing a large database of controlled stimuli, a large sample size, and the analytical advantages provided by signal detection theory. Participants viewed videos of male and female targets telling truths and lies about interpersonal relationships, and after each video, they rendered a truth or lie judgment. Female targets were easier to “read” (i.e., greater sensitivity) and were called liars more frequently than male targets. No effects of participant gender were observed. This work sheds light on an important issue in the lie detection literature (i.e., does gender matter?), and it identifies important considerations for understanding gender biases and cross-gender social interactions.

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