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Types of Deception and Underlying Motivation: What People Think


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In computer-mediated communication, there are various types of possible deception such as category deception (gender switching), attractiveness deception, or identity concealment. The present article argues that it is meaningful to differentiate among these types of deception. More specifically, it is assumed that people attribute the various types of deception to different motivations and that these assumed motivations determine the evaluation of the deception. To examine whether individuals indeed attribute different types of deception to different underlying motivations, a scenario study was conducted. The results were in line with the expectations. For example, identity concealment was mainly attributed to privacy concerns, whereas gender switchingwas mainly perceived as playing with newroles and unknownaspects of the self. The assumed malicious intention predicted the evaluation of the deception.
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Social Science Computer Review
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/0894439304271534
2005 23: 49Social Science Computer Review
Sonja Utz
Types of Deception and Underlying Motivation : What People Think
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Types of Deception and Underlying Motivation
What People Think
Free University Amsterdam
In computer-mediated communication, there are various types of possible deception such as category
deception (gender switching), attractiveness deception, or identity concealment. The present article
argues that it is meaningful to differentiate among these types of deception. More specifically, it is
assumed that people attribute the various types of deception to different motivations and that these
assumed motivations determine the evaluation of the deception. To examine whether individuals
indeed attribute different types of deception to different underlying motivations, a scenario study was
conducted. The results were in line with the expectations. For example, identity concealment was
mainly attributed to privacy concerns, whereas gender switching was mainly perceived as playing with
new roles and unknown aspects of the self. The assumed malicious intention predicted the evaluation of
the deception.
Keywords: deception; motivation; attribution
eception is a ubiquitous phenomenon in real life (DePaulo, Kashy, Kirkendol, Wyer,
& Epstein, 1996) as well as in cyberspace (Whitty, 2002). The aim of the current arti-
cle is to examine the perceived underlying motivations—what do the deceived persons think
are the motives of the deceivers? It is proposed that different types of deception in cyber-
space are attributed to different motivations.
This assumption is not entirely new. For a long time, scholars have thought about the pos
sible motivations underlying deceptive acts and possible classifications of deceptive acts.
Goffman (1974), for example, made a distinction between exploitive fabrications and benign
fabrications. Fabrications are defined as “the intentional effort of one or more individuals to
manage activity so that a party of one or more others will be induced to have a false belief
about what is going on” (Goffman, 1974, p. 83). Benign fabrications are in the interests of
the deceived or at least do not harm him or her, whereas exploitive fabrications clearly aim to
serve the deceiver and harm the other.
Other researchers (e.g., Camden, Motley, & Wilson, 1984; Hample, 1980) have devel
oped more specific taxonomies of forms of deception. For example, Lindskold and Walters
(1983) distinguished six forms of lies that can be rank ordered in terms of how acceptable
they are. They related these types of lies to the social motivations underlying interpersonal
behavior in general, ranging from altruistic motivations to exploitative motivations. Telling a
lie to save others was considered as highly acceptable, whereas telling a lie that hurts some
one else only to gain personally was judged as highly unacceptable. Lindskold and Walters
reported the results of three studies in which they found a nearly perfect match between a pri
ori categorization and judgment of acceptance.
Social Science Computer Review, Vol. 23 No. 1, Spring 2005 49-56
DOI: 10.1177/0894439304271534
© 2005 Sage Publications
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The present article focuses on the question of whether the various forms of deception on
the Internet can be classified in a similar way. Do people consider different forms of decep
tion as differently acceptable? Moreover, do they also attribute the different forms of decep
tion to different motivations? It is assumed that deception on the Internet and deception in
real life are not fundamentally different. There might be differences in relative frequency, but
the underlying motivations should be the same. Lindskold and Walters (1983) found high
agreement among individuals on the acceptability of a specific lie. The aim of the present
research is to examine whether people also agree on the severity and assumed underlying
motivations of deception on the Internet.
The Internet offers some new possibilities for deception and makes many well-known
forms of deception easier (Kendall, 1998; Noonan, 1998). Gender switching, that is, pre
tending to be male as a female and vice versa, is very difficult in face-to-face interactions in
which the gender of an individual is mostly discerned immediately. Many cues implying
deception are nonverbal (Ekman & Friesen, 1969) and are therefore missing in text-based
computer-mediated communication (CMC). This does not mean that it is impossible to
detect deception in CMC for example by focusing on the differences in linguistic style
between males and females in the case of gender switching (Colley & Todd, 2002). However,
as it takes longer to get to know the other in CMC than in face-to-face (FtF) communication
(Walther, 1992), it will often also take longer to detect deception in CMC.
There are several types of deception on the Internet. Donath (1999) distinguished among
identity concealment, category deception, trolls, and impersonation. According to Donath
(1999, p. 52), identity concealment often involves merely acts of omission rather than acts of
commission. A person tries to hide his or her identity, for example, by using a pseudonym or
a wrong name. Category deception is giving the impression of being a particular type (p. 49).
Gender switching is probably the most well-known form of category deception. Other forms
would include age deception or enhancement of status. What Cornwell and Lundgren (2001)
call misrepresentation, that is, the tendency of people to describe themselves in an idealized
way, might also be regarded as a mild form of category deception (presenting oneself as
more attractive, thin, or rich). A troll is a character invented to disturb the conversation in a
newsgroup by asking provoking questions or by disseminating poor advice. Impersonation
means to pretend to be another user, that is, writing e-mails or messages in his or her name or
even stealing his or her account.
The present article focuses on three of these types of deception, namely gender switching,
attractiveness deception, and identity concealment. These types were chosen because they
are rather common. Whitty (2002) reported that 28% of male chat users have lied about their
gender. Cornwell and Lundgren (2001) conducted a study of people who have formed
romantic relationships in cyberspace and found that 28% of the respondents misrepresented
their physical characteristics such as hair color, weight, or state of health. According to a Pew
Internet Project survey (2000), about one fourth of the users had lied at least once when
asked for personal data. To know the attributed motivations is important because people base
their reactions on these perceived intentions. Ames, Flynn, and Weber (2004) found, for
example, that perceived intentions of a helper influenced the reactions of the helped person.
Individuals who assumed that the other helped because he or she cared for them reacted more
positively than did those who assumed that he or she did it only because he or she was obliged
to do so by his or her role.
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Deception on the Internet can be caused by a variety of motivations. Joinson and Dietz-
Uhler (2002) considered psychiatric illness, identity play, and expressions of true self as
explanations in a specific case of category deception. The present article focuses on privacy
concerns, idealized self-presentation, play, and malicious intention as possible motivations
because prior studies have shown that these are especially relevant for the chosen forms of
As mentioned earlier, a Pew Internet Project survey (2000) found that privacy concerns
often motivate people to give invalid personal information when asked for it on web sites.
People also use more anonymous and thus identity-concealing e-mail addresses in venues
where spam mails can be expected (Utz, 2004). Whitty and Gavin (2001; see also Whitty,
2002) found that women in chat rooms lie for reasons of safety: They do not want to be
tracked down. Thus, there is evidence that privacy concerns and the desire to avoid unwanted
obtrusions by others are important motivations for deception.
Another motivation is idealized self-presentation. Most people try to present themselves
in a favorable way, in FtF communication and in CMC. However, it is easier to do so in CMC
than in FtF communication (cf. Walther, 1996). The same picture is found in flirt lines online
as in traditional newspaper singles advertisements (e.g., Koestner & Wheeler, 1988): Most
users claim to be attractive either in terms of beauty or in terms of socioeconomic status.
Especially men tend to lie about their education, occupation, and income (Whitty, 2002).
Idealized self-presentation might be a frequent motivation in all cases of misrepresentation:
age, attractiveness, and socioeconomic status.
Turkle (1995) and Bargh, McKenna, and Fitzsimons (2002) argue that CMC allows peo-
ple to detect unknown aspects of their true self by playing with different roles and identities.
Whitty (2003, p. 346) proposes that Internet flirting can also be best understood as a type of
play. Playing with the possibilities of CMC—either just for fun or to detect new aspects of
the self—might therefore be another motivation, especially for various types of category
The three motivations described so far are mainly self-benefiting but do not intend to
harm the other. However, some types of deception might be caused by a more malicious
motivation. People might intend to annoy a specific person (e.g., for reasons of personal dis
like). Some people might also aim to provoke a whole community, as it is reported for trolls
(Donath, 1999). Malicious intention is therefore considered as a fourth possible motivation.
The goal of the present article is to examine whether people consensually judge the differ
ent types of deception as more or less severe and whether they attribute them systematically
to different motivations. The article focuses on attributed rather than actual intentions
because the deceived base their reactions on the perceived and not on the actual intentions.
Participants and Design
Participating in the study were 88 students of Chemnitz University of Technology; 23
participants were male and 65 were female. The mean age was 23 years (range: 18 to 44
years). Mean Internet experience was 39 months (SD = 19), and people spent on average 7
hours (SD = 8) per week on the Internet. Most participants were highly experienced with e-
mail and the World Wide Web, but not all participants were well acquainted with news
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groups, chat rooms, or other online services. Because most types of deception occur in these
venues, experience with chats (median split) was included as an additional variable. The
study had a 2 (chat experience: low vs. high) by 3 factorial (scenario: identity conceal
ment vs. attractiveness deception vs. category deception) mixed design. The first factor (chat
experience) was a between-subjects factor; the second factor (scenario) was a within-
subjects factor.
Participants were presented with three scenarios each describing a specific type of decep
tion. The selected types were identity concealment, attractiveness deception, and gender
switching. The scenarios were described very briefly and in general terms to minimize the
possibility that the specific details given in the scenario were the basis for the attributions
rather than the type of deception per se. Order of the scenarios was randomized. The scenar
ios were presented in German; in the next paragraph, close English translations are reported.
The scenario for identity concealment was described as, “A person participates under a
wrong name (by using an expressly chosen or gmx e-mail address) in a newsgroup
discussion (a sort of bulletin board in the Internet). The attractiveness deception scenario
read, “A person misrepresents his or her attractiveness or weight in a flirt channel towards
another person with whom he or she gets along very well. The scenario for gender switching
read, “A person pretends to be a person of the opposite sex in a chat.
General evaluation of the deception was assessed by asking participants how severe they
considered the type of deception to be on a 7-point scale. A number of items assessed the
assumed underlying motivation in more detail. Participants were presented with a list of pos-
sible motivations. They were asked to indicate on a 7-point scale ranging from not at all to
very much for each reason how much they thought it would be the reason underlying
the behavior. It was stated that the purpose of the study was to examine how they would spon-
taneously attribute this behavior, not which reason might also be possible under certain
The reasons covered the following motivations: privacy concerns (five items; e.g., wants
to stay anonymous, does not want to reveal too much personal information); play (with roles
and the possibilities of the medium; five items; e.g., for fun, wants to explore new roles); ide
alized self-presentation (five items; e.g., wants to impress the other, wants to appear more
attractive); and malice (four items; e.g., wants to provoke, wants to make trouble). Because
of the within-subjects design, alphas were calculated separately for each scenario. Of the
alphas, 10 of 12 ranged between .73 and .90, with the exceptions being privacy concerns in
scenario 1 (.46) and play in scenario 3 (.45). However, a confirmatory factor analysis (with
varimax rotation) on the pooled data from all scenarios indicated the construct validity of
the four scales. To keep scales comparable across scenarios, all four scales were used as
Because the scenario was varied within subjects, the following analyses of variance use a
repeated-measurements design. This is functionally equivalent to a multivariate analysis of
variance in a between-subjects design.
General evaluation of the situations was analyzed by a 2 (experience) by 3 (deception
type) analysis of variance with repeated measures on the last factor. This analysis showed a
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significant main effect of deception type, F(2, 85) = 37.02, p < .001. Attractiveness decep
tion was judged as most severe (M = 4.47), followed by gender switching (M = 3.75). Identity
concealment was judged as less severe than the other two types (M = 2.57), all ps < .01. No
other effects were significant, Fs < 1.
For attributed motivation, a 2 (experience) by 3 (deception type) by 4 (motivation) analy
sis of variance with repeated measurement on the last two factors revealed a significant main
effect of experience, F(1, 86) = 4.30, p < .05. Experienced users made stronger attributions
(M = 4.49) than did less experienced users (M = 4.24).
There was also a significant interac-
tion between scenario and motivation, F(6, 516) = 188.16, p < .001. As can be seen in Table
1, the scenarios can be clearly distinguished by the attributed underlying motivations.
Attractiveness deception is primarily attributed to a desire to present oneself in an ideal-
ized way and can also be attributed to play. Gender switching is mainly attributed to play.
Identity concealment is mainly attributed to privacy concerns and to some extent to play. No
type of deception is primarily attributed to malice, confirming that indeed less severe types
of deception were selected for the study. No other effects, especially no interaction effects
with chat experience, were significant, all Fs < 1.39, ns. That is, although experience with
chats did lead to more determined attributions, the pattern was the same for low and high
experienced users.
Interestingly, the reliabilities for privacy concerns and play were extremely low for
exactly those scenarios that were primarily attributed to these reasons. This unexpected find
ing could simply mean that people differentiated more between the items belonging to this
motivation scale when the motivation was perceived as relevant for the respective scenario.
Therefore, a closer look at the items of privacy concerns in the case of identity concealment
and at the items of play in the case of gender switching was taken. In fact, people attributed
identity concealment primarily to the motives wants to stay anonymous (M = 6.84) and wants
to be safe from sanctions (M = 5.56) but not to wants to protect his or her privacy (M = 2.78).
For gender switching, the closer analysis of the items of the play subscale revealed that gen
der switching was attributed more to wants to test new roles (M = 6.02) and wants to explore
other aspects of his or her personality (M = 5.50) than to does that for fun (M = 4.05).
To test whether the assumed motivations determine the evaluation of the deceptions, three
regression analyses were conducted (using a forced entry of all predictors simultaneously to
be able to compare the three scenarios). The criterion variable was evaluation of the respec
tive type of deception; the predictors were the four motivations. The evaluation of identity
concealment was predicted by play (β = –.31) and malice (β = .43), F(4, 87) = 6.54, p < .001,
= .20. For attractiveness deception, the regression analysis was not significant, F(4,
87) = 1.73, p = .15, R
= .03. However, idealized self-presentation (β = .22) and malice (β =
Attributed Motivations by Deception Type
Privacy Concerns Self-Presentation Play Malice
Attractiveness deception 3.51 6.54 4.29
Category deception 4.47 3.82
5.77 3.94
Identity concealment 6.14 3.66
NOTE: Within a row and within a column, means having the same subscript are not significantly different
from each other at
< .05.
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.24) had the highest beta weights. The evaluation of gender switching was only predicted by
malice (β = .49), F(4, 87) = 7.06, p < .001, R
= .22. As expected, the perceived harmfulness
predicted the overall evaluation of the deception.
The three types of deception were clearly evaluated differently and were attributed to dif
ferent motivations. Attractiveness deception was perceived as most severe, followed by gen
der switching and identity concealment. Whereas attractiveness deception was perceived as
being caused primarily by a desire to present oneself in an idealized way, gender switching
was attributed mainly to playing with different roles or aspects of the self. Identity conceal
ment on the other hand was ascribed to privacy concerns.
Thus, as previously reported for several types of lies occurring in FtF situations
(Lindskold & Walters, 1983), people also agreed on the severity of various forms of de
ception occurring in cyberspace. There was consensus about the assumed underlying moti
vations as well. Interestingly, there was no influence of chat experience on the pattern of
attributions per se. High experienced chatters were only more determined in their attribu
tions. That is, more experience with the medium does not lead to a more differentiated or an
entirely different view on possible motivations.
The assumed motivations are also in line with studies that focused on actual intentions.
The Pew Internet Project survey (2000) reported that privacy concerns lead to identity con-
cealment, and studies on romantic relationships in cyberspace have shown that men tend to
present themselves in an idealized way by lying about their socioeconomic status (Whitty,
2002). According to Bargh et al. (2002) and Turkle (1995), playing with different aspects of
the self is a central motivation for category deceptions such as gender switching. Thus,
although it is known that individuals’ attributions in general are biased by several factors
(e.g., the fundamental attribution error; Jones & Harris, 1967), there is also some evidence
that individuals’ assumptions about the motivations of other people are not totally invalid.
How much do the assumed motivations influence the evaluation of the deceptive act? The
regression analyses showed that evaluation was mainly predicted by the subscale malice.
Thus, although people attribute the forms of deception to different motivations such as ideal
ized self-presentation or privacy concern, they base their evaluation mainly on malicious
intention. The more intention to harm others that people assumed, the less positively they
evaluated the respective type of deception. However, it is noteworthy that perceived mali
cious intention was not perfectly correlated with perceived severity. More specifically,
attractiveness deception was judged more severely than would have been expected by the
low rating of malicious intent. A possible explanation for this inconsistency might be a dif
ference in level of involvement. Interactions in chats are often relatively superficial and shal
low. People also form friendships in chats, but the percentage of romantic relationships
should be lower than in flirt lines. People signing up in an online flirt line are looking explic
itly for a partner and might consequently place high hopes on their interaction partner. If the
putative dream partner turns out to be much less attractive then he or she pretended to be,
these people might be really disappointed and feel hurt. Whitty and Gavin (2001) report that
trust and honesty in online relationships are as important as in FtF relationships. Being
deceived by a close other might therefore hurt much more than being deceivedbyan
acquaintance in a chat. Future studies should therefore also control for the level of closeness
and involvement between the interaction partners.
The present study is a first attempt to examine whether people differentiate among vari
ous types of deception. Therefore, many questions remain open. One limitation of the cur
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rent study is that it concentrated only on three types of deception. The sample was also rather
homogeneous as only students participated. However, most users of chats are young adults
(Pew Internet Project, 2003). Besides, chat experience did not alter the pattern of results.
Nevertheless, it is possible that older people who have more experience of life draw different
conclusions about the assumed underlying motivations. Lindskold and Walters (1983, Study
1) found a higher acceptance of, for example, lying on an income tax return within a sample
of older people and explained this with a distinction between practical realism and youthful
idealism. Further studies should therefore use a more heterogeneous sample.
The present study was a scenario study. This approach has the advantage that the situation
is held constant for all participants, and the setting is therefore relatively controlled. In a field
study, it would be much more complicated to compare different types of deception because
there would be much more variance within each type of deception that could cause the differ
ences in evaluation. Nevertheless, it would be desirable to complement the findings of the
present study by a field study.
The results show clearly that different types of deception are attributed to different moti
vations and that the evaluation of the deception depends to some extent on these perceived
motivations. Self-protection is a highly accepted motivation for deceiving others, whereas
intention to harm others is not. Other types of deception are attributed to intention to harm
others to various degrees. When studying reactions on deception, one should therefore bear
in mind that the results found for one type of deception cannot be easily generalized to other
types of deception.
1. The main effects of motivation and scenario were also significant. The main effect of motivation, F(3, 258) =
90.17, p < .001, indicated that all three types of deception were more attributed to privacy concerns (M = 4.71), ideal-
ized self-presentation (M = 4.67), and play (M = 4.77) than to malice (M = 3.30). The main effect of scenario, F(2,
84) = 7.72, p < .001, revealed that participants made more or stronger attributions about underlying motivations in
the cases of category deception (M = 4.50) and identity concealment (M = 4.38) than in the case of attractiveness
deception (M = 4.20).
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Sonja Utz is an assistant professor of communication science at Free University Amsterdam. Her research
interests are in the areas of social dilemmas in cyberspace and social relationships in virtual communities.
She may be reached by e-mail at
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... It manifests as identity concealment, attractiveness deception, or category deception (Utz, 2005), with the last one referring to a switch in gender. Motivations behind identity deception online can be privacy concerns, status elevation, idealized self-presentation, or identity play, among others (Caspi & Gorsky, 2006;Utz, 2005). Having said that, we are fully aware of the gender variety in our society. ...
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Comment sections below news articles are public fora in which potentially everyone can engage in equal and fair discussions on political and social issues. Yet, empirical studies have reported that many comment sections are spaces of selective participation, discrimination, and verbal abuse. The current study complements these findings by analyzing gender-related differences in participation and incivility. It uses a sample of 303,342 user comments from 14 German news media Facebook pages. We compare participation rates of female and male users as well as associations between the users’ gender, the incivility of their comments, and the incivility of the adjacent replies. To determine the incivility of the comments, we developed a Supervised Machine Learning Model (classifier) using pre-trained word embeddings and word// frequency features. The findings show that, overall, women participate less than men. Comments written by female authors are more civil than comments written by male authors. Women’s comments do not receive more uncivil replies than men’s comments and women are not punished disproportionately for communicating uncivilly. These findings contribute to the discourse on gender-related differences in online comment sections and provide insights into the dynamics of online discussions.
... Deception can occur in diverse interactional contexts, serving various purposes (cf. Utz, 2005), both communicative and practical. Two salient contexts occasioning deception are the romantic one (e.g., Sharabi & Caughlin, 2019;Toma, 2017) and the financial one, which is when deception is typically dubbed, and studied as, fraud or scam. ...
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With a focus on the online phenomena of scamming and scambaiting, this article explores users’ communicative activities on Reddit’s r/scambait subreddit. Drawing on a representative corpus viewed through grounded theory, we establish the basic categories of posts and then unpack those further to reveal the deceptive practices being undertaken by both scammers and scambaiters, as well as Redditors’ untruthfulness in their fabricated posts. The analysis reveals that the r/scambait subreddit exists as a site of humorous entertainment arising from various forms of deception. Scammers’ deceptive strategies are depicted as amusingly naïve and inefficient, while scambaiters’ deceptive messages targeted at scammers demonstrate great creativity and wittiness. In both cases, scammer-victims are disparaged for being immensely gullible or downright stupid; and Redditors earn online plaudits for submitting the most upvoted posts. Our significant finding is that posts such as those at r/scambait should never be taken at face value due to their inherent epistemological ambiguity, to which the users choose to remain oblivious or indifferent. Furthermore, on a general plane, this study indicates a potential shift in the emic understanding of the concept of “scambaiting” from a punitive measure and an educational instrument to a creative practice geared toward posters’ kudos and users’ joint humorous experience through “baitertainment” and “scamusement.”
... In online environments, people use lying as a way to present themselves. They usually lie to appeal to others regarding physical attraction, age, background and interests (Utz, 2005). In the case of the SNS (Social network service) environment, people have been known to lie about age, gender, job, and relationships status (Wright et al., 2018). ...
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The present study explored motivations (need for approval, impression management) for lying self-presentation on Instagram as well as the mental and behavioral outcomes (depression, perceived popularity, deleting behavior on Instagram) of this presentation. We also examined the differential mediational roles of perceived popularity in accounting for the association between lying self-presentation and depression. Our results showed that individuals with a strong need for approval reported higher levels of lying self-presentation. The results also revealed that lying self-presentation positively influenced depression, perceived popularity and deleting behaviors. Furthermore, we found that even if lying self-presentation increased depression, perceived popularity served as a psychological buffer against depression.
... Terdapat tiga jenis deception behavior dalam dunia maya menurut Utz (2005) yaitu mengubah gender atau identitas, menampilkan diri serta fisik lebih menarik dengan memanipulasi, dan menutupi identitas menggunakan nama yang bukan sebenarnya atau berpura-pura menjadi orang lain. Dari hasil studi yang dilakukan oleh Moningka dan Selviana (2020) pada remaja pengguna media sosial di jabodetabek dapat diidentifikasi perilaku deception yang sering dilakukan yaitu menampilkan diri yang lebih baik dan mengubah atau menutupi identitas. ...
... Source credibility has been associated with confidence in information from the source, and with persuasion itself (Briñol, Petty, and Tormala, 2004;Clark, Wegener, Sawicki, Petty, & Briñol, 2013) In general, individuals tend to derogate sources that are found to be deceptive or lying (e.g., McCornack & Levine, 1990;Tyler, Feldman, & Reichert, 2006;Green & Donohue 2011). Lying elicits negative feelings and disapproval, and self-interested or malicious motivations for lying exacerbate disapproval (Utz, 2005), as deception for personal gain prompts especially negative reactions (Tyler, Feldman, & Reichert, 2006;Backbier, Hoogstraten & Meerum, 1997). Intentional deception is considered to be particularly unacceptable (Green & Donohue, 2011), especially if the deception promotes one's self-interest rather than helping someone else (Cantarero et al., 2018). ...
Misinformation is a growing concern in the public health realm, as it is persistent and difficult to correct. One strategy recently considered to address misinformation is “inoculation”, which leverages forewarning and refutation to defend against a subsequent persuasive message. Here, I aimed to assess whether inoculation can be harnessed to forestall implicitly arising misinformation such as that from misleading natural cigarette ads, which have been shown to prompt widespread misbeliefs. I conducted three randomized online experiments assessing means of inoculating against misinformation. The first tested inoculation tactics to determine whether particular message formats are more effective (i.e., exemplar, narrative, or exposition), and to assess whether inoculations must refute the exact arguments from the misinformation or can more generally match argument themes. The second study tested an attenuated generic versus a specific refutation, and explored results over time. The final study focused on a particular inoculation strategy–highlighting prior deceptive messaging by the persuasive source. Results indicate that inoculations can successfully defend against misinformation from misleading ads; further, they do not need to match exact arguments or even exact themes from the arguments in order to reduce misbeliefs. In fact, high level, generic refutations successfully reduced misbeliefs both immediately and with a time delay, and, crucially, so too did inoculations that included an explicit forewarning but only an implicit refutation. Furthermore, multiple inoculation message formats were successful, and the effectiveness of inoculations was enhanced, to a limited degree, by identifying prior deceptive messaging by the persuasive source. Finally, findings supported counterarguing as a potential mediator of effects of inoculation messages on misbeliefs. The significance of the results here lies in their support for key inoculation components–forewarning and refutation–as well as the much-hypothesized mechanism of counterarguing, when attempting to combat misinformation. The core contribution of these studies is the consistent finding that we can successfully inoculate against implicit misinformation without directly addressing the exact misinformation claims, which is particularly important with implicitly arising, often difficult-to-anticipate misbeliefs from misleading advertising.
... With effort, they can change more major facets such as their gender or their persona. Although the minor forms of deception are not considered altogether inappropriate, the major forms of deception are (Utz, 2005). ...
Howard Rheingold’s (1993) book The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier was the first to bring virtual communities to the attention of researchers and practitioners. Although virtual groups have been examined previously, Rheingold’s descriptions of participating in the WELL, an Internet-based bulletin board, vividly portrayed the potential of online social groupings. Rheingold told stories of people who had never met face-to-face providing socio-emotional and even financial support to each other through times of crisis and celebration.
Sympathy sockpuppets are false online identities used for purposes of extracting care work from others. While online community infiltration for nefarious purposes is a well-documented phenomenon, people may also join online communities using deceptive personas (“sockpuppet” accounts) for non-nefarious reasons, such as to gain sympathy or cultivate a sense of belonging in a group. In comparison with scamming and trolling, this more subtle form of online deception is not well understood, and to date, its impacts on individuals and communities have not been fully articulated. This knowledge gap leaves communities without guidance when managing the impacts of this sympathy sockpuppet deception. We interviewed people who had been members of online communities that discovered sympathy sockpuppets in their midst to explore and characterize the phenomenon of sympathy sockpuppetry and to provide guidance for other individuals and communities that encounter similar forms of online deception.
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Language plays a vital role in communicating and transmitting information between people, as well as in performing several other important functions, deception being one of them. The importance of this study in linguistics is related to the wide social use of deception, and to the fact that it is one of the very important themes in literature. However, this field of research did not get what it deserved in research and study. This Pragmatic study aims to explore the theatrical texts of the two historical periods (15th and 20th centuries) in English literature by comparing them to highlight how the authors of poetic theatrical texts use the pragmatic aspects of language such as speech act theory and how to override the Grice principle in order to achieve certain social goals. This study is designed to explore the linguistic features of deception in the Elizabethan era (Shakespeare‟s Hamlet) and the twentieth century (Elliot‟s Murder in the Cathedral) by comparing the deception methods used in both of them from the standpoint of the theory of pragmatics. The researcher hypothesized that the text of Hamlet uses deceptive language more than the text of Murder in the Cathedral. The second hypothesis is that Grice's cooperative principle is overridden in terms of the quality and the manner maxims more than the quantity and the relevance maxims in both plays.
Social media is increasingly recognised as an extraordinary form of soft power. It places at the user’s disposal the ability to instantly replicate content at a geometric rate across enormous geographical and temporal spaces. Whilst some harness this power to disrupt problematic discourse, others turn it to intimidation and censorship, and the world of online activism can be a particularly turbulent arena for competing voices. After a successful online campaign that petitioned the Bank of England for better gender-representation on British banknotes, activist Caroline Criado-Perez was targeted with abuse on Twitter. This chapter presents the background to the ESRC-funded project undertaken on this case, key findings from the analyses, and Twitter’s subsequent change to their policy after the results of this project were presented to them and a range of influential stakeholders at Twitter’s London headquarters.
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This paper reports the results of three exploratory studies aimed at describing the purposes and consequences of lies. Observational modes were: a partly open‐ended questionnaire, content analysis of several tape‐recorded interviews, and a large‐scale survey. Several results appeared in all three studies. Two of three lies are told for selfish reasons, and three of four are told to social or economic superiors. These and other results are interpreted to mean that a dominant reason for lying is to equalize imbalanced interpersonal relations. Furthermore, liars are consistently more satisfied with their lies than with themselves. Therefore, the report concludes that the social proscription against deceit creates personal costs for the liar. As a consequence, lying takes place only when rewards are both large and assured. Many lies are told repeatedly—in identical situations—and so are presumably field‐tested for both costs and benefits.
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While there exists some research on offline flirting, there is currently little in the way of conceptual theory or empirical research on flirting in cyberspace. This paper attempts to help redress this balance. The paper initially presents a summary of the behaviour of offline flirting and particularly identifies what constitutes offline flirting signals. Given this background context, suggestions are made as to how we might better conceptualize online flirting. The prevailing wisdom has been that we should focus on the absence of the body in cyberspace. This view is challenged here. Instead, it is argued that researchers should re-orient their focus to how the body is reconstructed online. Winnicott's notions of `potential space' and `transitional objects' are drawn upon in this paper to advance an argument that online flirting should be considered as a form of play. In making this argument, it is contended that online flirting has unique aspects in comparison to offline flirting. In particular, while realistic elements are present in online flirting, there is a blurring between what is reality and fantasy when one engages in flirtatious behaviour on the Internet.
Cases of identity deception on the Internet are not uncommon. Several cases of a revealed identity deception have been reported in the media. In this article, the authors examine a case of deception in an online community composed primarily of information technology professionals. In this case, an established community member(DF) invented a character(Nowheremom) whom he fell in love with and who was eventually killed in a tragic accident. When other members of the community eventually began to question Nowheremom’s actual identity, DF admitted that he invented her. The discussion board was flooded with reactions to DF’s revelation. The authors propose several explanations for the perpetration of identity deception, including psychiatric illness, identity play, and expressions of true self. They also analyze the reactions of community members and propose three related explanations (social identity, deviance, and norm violation) to account for their reactions. It is argued that virtual communities’ reactions to such threatening events provide invaluable clues for the study of group processes on the Internet.
This paper considers how people react to those who have helped them. We propose that a recipient's evaluation of a helper's intentions and the recipient's own attitudes about future interactions with the helper depend partly on the way in which the helper appears to have decided to assist: on the basis of positive affect, of organizational role, or of cost-benefit calculation. When a recipient perceives that a helping decision was based on affect (i.e., positive feelings about the recipient), she will be more inclined toward future interaction and reciprocation with the helper than if she perceives the decision as having been based on role or cost-benefit considerations. We propose that these "decision modes" signal the helper's underlying attitudes about the recipient, which, in turn, clarify the relationship with the helper. We also examine a boundary condition: modes have their greatest impact when the amount of help provided is small. We confirmed our predictions in four studies of actual and experimentally-manipulated helping episodes. Our results challenge models of reciprocation that focus predominantly on benefit magnitude or felt gratitude.
: Research relevant to psychotherapy regarding facial expression and body movement, has shown that the kind of information which can be gleaned from the patients words - information about affects, attitudes, interpersonal styles, psychodynamics - can also be derived from his concomitant nonverbal behavior. The study explores the interaction situation, and considers how within deception interactions differences in neuroanatomy and cultural influences combine to produce specific types of body movements and facial expressions which escape efforts to deceive and emerge as leakage or deception clues.
Twenty students participated in this study in which white lies were collected and coded for analysis. Overall, findings confirm previous findings that lies are often used to cope with difficulties in unequal power relationships. (PD)
Heterosexual personal advertisements from two geographically separated, local, weekly newspapers were content-analyzed. Three significant patterns of findings emerged which shed light on gender differences in self-presentational style. First, women were found to be relatively more likely to offer instrumental or `male-valued' traits in their ads and to seek expressive or `female-valued' ones, while men showed the reverse pattern. This paradoxical finding was interpreted to reflect the influence of implicit notions of attraction and role expectations. Second, women were relatively more likely to offer weight and to seek height, while men were relatively more likely to offer height and to seek weight. This pattern was interpreted to reflect the influence of the `male-taller-norm' in mate selection as well as a societal bias toward thinness in women. Finally, as in previous studies of this sort, women were found to be relatively more likely to offer physical attractiveness and to seek professional status, while men were relatively more likely to offer professional status and to seek attractiveness. This pattern was interpreted to be consistent with traditional sex-role expectations wherein appearance is stressed for women and status for men. Overall, the findings show that advertisers exhibit an understanding of implicit theories of attraction: men and women tend to offer precisely those attributes which are sought by the opposite sex.
Previous research has found gender differences in the style of language used in both written communication and face-to-face interaction. Such differences have also been found in electronic interactions with strangers. This study examined the style and content of emails describing a recent holiday written by men and women for male and female friends. In line with traditional gender stereotypes, some gender differences were found in the topics covered, in the form of greater coverage of the social and domestic topics of shopping, night life, and cost by women; and the impersonal, external topics of the location, journey, and local people by men. The e-mails from female participants contained a higher incidence of features associated with the maintenance of rapport and intimacy than those from male participants, and this was more pronounced in the e-mails from female participants to male friends.