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Deception cues in WhatsApp : an empirical study identifying the role of emoticons in deceptive messages on WhatsApp

Walther, Michelle (2018) Deception cues in WhatsApp : an empirical study identifying the role of emoticons in deceptive messages on WhatsApp.

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Abstract:Are the frequency and type of emoticons different when people lie on WhatsApp compared to telling the truth? Research done on verbal and non-verbal deception cues in face-to-face interaction is abundant. However, there is not much research on non-verbal deception cues in computer-mediated communication (CMC). Since WhatsApp is one of the most popular CMCs, this research was conducted to get more insight in deception cues on WhatsApp, with a focus on emoticon use. An empirical online study, in which participants were asked to send three screenshots of each deceptive and truthful answers to questions they texted on WhatsApp, was conducted to answer the research question. The emoticons of these screenshots were counted and sorted into levels of valence (positive, negative, surprising, and neutral) and intensity (strong versus weak). In the analysis per valence and intensity, the content (lie versus truth) was the independent variable while the frequency of emoticons was the dependent variable. The results indicate that there are more negative emoticons used in lies compared to truths and more positive emoticons used in truths compared to lies. However, no difference is found in the frequency of emoticons used during lies compared to truths. These findings suggest that the type of emoticon can be used as indication of deception. Moreover, regarding the amount of literature available on the topic, emoticons as deception cues, only little research is done. Therefore, more research is necessary to understand the depths of emoticon use on WhatsApp.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Unknown organization, Niederlande
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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