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How good are you at lying?

Schulz, N. (2014) How good are you at lying?

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Abstract:This study deals with the interaction between the character traits self-esteem and self-consciousness and the effect of lying on people’s writing behavior. The study is built up on the work of Pennebaker (2003) who found that people use fewer first- person pronouns when they are lying than when they writing the truth. Based on this outcome, in this research the effect of lying is defined as the use of fewer-first person pronouns in a written dishonest condition. Additionally, other researchers have the opinion that the effect of lying is also influenced by people’s character traits. Based on the theoretical framework of the theory of self-awareness and the concept of public and private self-consciousness two hypotheses were formulated and tested in this research. First, that the effect of lying on the writing style is expected to be stronger by people with a lower amount of self-esteem than by people with a higher amount of self-esteem. Secondly, that the effect of lying on the writing style is expected to be stronger by people who are more public self- conscious than by people with more private self- consciousness. In the procedural experiment, the participants first had to answer questions pertaining to the amount of self-esteem and self-consciousness. Afterwards they had to write down their honest and one dishonest opinion with a contrary argumentation about the topic death penalty. Based on the analysis of the experimental data, both hypotheses could not be confirmed. Regarding the second hypothesis a further analysis to find an interaction effect was prohibited, based on the low reliability of the Fenigstein Self-Consciousness Scale. The found significant effect was the difference of the proportions of used first-person pronouns in the honest and dishonest opinion. Summarized this study could not confirm an interaction between the character traits self-esteem and self-consciousness and the effect of lying on the writing style. However this study does confirm the presence of the effect of lying, founded by Pennebaker, which means that people indeed use fewer first-person pronouns when they are dishonest than when they are writing the truth.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/64869
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