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Cross-cultural verbal deception

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Background - ‘Interviewing to detect deception’ research is sparse across different Ethnic Groups. In the present experiment, we interviewed truth tellers and liars from British, Chinese, and Arab origins. British interviewees belong to a low‐context culture (using a communication style that relies heavily on explicit and direct language), whereas Chinese and Arab interviewees belong to high‐context cultures (communicate in ways that are implicit and rely heavily on context).

Method - Interviewees were interviewed in pairs and 153 pairs took part. Truthful pairs discussed an actual visit to a nearby restaurant, whereas deceptive pairs pretended to have visited a nearby restaurant. Seventeen verbal cues were examined.

Results - Cultural cues (differences between cultures) were more prominent than cues to deceit (differences between truth tellers and liars). In particular, the British interviewees differed from their Chinese and Arab counterparts and the differences reflected low‐ and high‐context culture communication styles.

Conclusion - Cultural cues could quickly lead to cross‐cultural verbal communication errors: the incorrect interpretation of a cultural difference as a cue to deceit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-213
JournalLegal and Criminological Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date29 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Cross-cultural verbal deception

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Leal, S., Vrij, A., Vernham, Z., Dalton, G., Jupe, L., Harvey, A., & Nahari, G. (2018). Cross‐cultural verbal deception. Legal and Criminological Psychology, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 289 KB, PDF document

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