Lie prevalence, lie characteristics and strategies of self-reported good liars

Brianna L. Verigin, Ewout H. Meijer, Glynis Bogaard, Aldert Vrij

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Meta-analytic findings indicate that the success of unmasking a deceptive interaction relies more on the performance of the liar than on that of the lie detector. Despite this finding, the lie characteristics and strategies of deception that enable good liars to evade detection are largely unknown. We conducted a survey (n = 194) to explore the association between laypeople’s self-reported ability to deceive on the one hand, and their lie prevalence, characteristics, and deception strategies in daily life on the other. Higher self-reported ratings of deception ability were positively correlated with self-reports of telling more lies per day, telling inconsequential lies, lying to colleagues and friends, and communicating lies via face-to-face interactions. We also observed that self-reported good liars highly relied on verbal strategies of deception and they most commonly reported to i) embed their lies into truthful information, ii) keep the statement clear and simple, and iii) provide a plausible account. This study provides a starting point for future research exploring the meta-cognitions and patterns of skilled liars who may be most likely to evade detection.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0225566
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2019


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