1. Facial models suggest less may be more for a successful smile

    July 20, 2017 by Ashley

    From the PLOS press release:

    Research using computer-animated 3D faces suggests that less is more for a successful smile, according to a study published June 28, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Nathaniel Helwig from the University of Minnesota, US, and colleagues.

    Facial cues are an important form of nonverbal communication in social interactions, and previous studies indicate that computer-generated facial models can be useful for systematically studying how changes in expression over space and time affect how people read faces. The authors of the present study presented a series of 3D computer-animated facial models to 802 participants. Each model’s expression was altered by varying the mouth angle, extent of smile and the degree to which teeth were on show, as well as how symmetrically the smile developed, and participants were asked to rate smiles based on effectiveness, genuineness, pleasantness and perceived emotional intent.

    The researchers found that a successful smile — one that is rated effective, genuine and pleasant — may contradict the “more is always better” principle, as a bigger smile which shows more teeth may in fact be perceived less well. Successful smiles therefore have an optimal balance of teeth, mouth angle and smile extent to hit a smile ‘sweet spot’. Smiles were also rated as more successful if they developed quite symmetrically, with the left and right side of the faces being synced to within 125 milliseconds.

    According to the authors, using 3D computer amination may help to develop a more complete spatiotemporal understanding of our emotional perceptions of facial expression. Since some people have medical conditions such as stroke which hinder facial expressions, with possible psychological and social consequences, these results could also inform current medical practices for facial reanimation surgery and rehabilitation.


  2. Study suggests authenticity key to landing a new job

    July 8, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University College London press release:

    At job interviews, relax and be yourself — if you’re good, being yourself may be the best way to secure a job offer, according to a new study involving UCL researchers.

    Published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the study by UCL, Bocconi University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and London Business School, found that high-quality candidates who strive to present themselves accurately during the interview process significantly increase the likelihood of receiving a job offer.

    “People are often encouraged to only present the best aspects of themselves at interview so they appear more attractive to employers, but what we’ve found is that high-quality candidates — the top 10% — fare much better when they present who they really are. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for poorer quality candidates who can actually damage their chances of being offered the job by being more authentic,” explained co-author Dr SunYoung Lee (UCL School of Management).

    The research focused on the concept of ‘self-verification‘, which refers to individuals’ drive to be known and understood by others according to their firmly held beliefs and feelings about themselves.

    To date, self-verifying behaviour was known to positively influence outcomes that unfold over time, such as the process of integration in a new organization. This paper shows, for the first time, that self-verification can have important effects in short-term interpersonal interactions as well, as in the hiring process.

    Lead author, Dr Celia Moore (Bocconi University), said: “In a job interview, we often try to present ourselves as perfect. Our study proves this instinct wrong. Interviewers perceive an overly polished self-representation as inauthentic and potentially misrepresentative. But ultimately, if you are a high-quality candidate, you can be yourself on the job market. You can be honest and authentic. And if you are, you will be more likely to get a job.” The researchers conducted three studies — two field studies looking at the importance of self-verification for groups of professionals applying for different jobs and a third experimental study testing the mechanism behind the effects observed.

    In the two field studies, prior to job interviews, candidates reported their self-verification drive, and their quality was evaluated in face-to-face interviews. The results of the studies were normalised for gender, age and race.

    The first study investigated a sample of 1,240 teachers from around the globe who applied for placements in the U.S. The candidates that had been evaluated as high quality had a 51% likelihood of receiving a placement, but this increased to 73% for those who also had a strong drive to self-verify. The second study replicated this effect in a radically different sample by assessing 333 lawyers applying for positions in a branch of the U.S. military. For this group, high quality candidates increased their chances of receiving a job offer five-fold, from 3% to 17%, if they also had a strong drive to self-verify. This effect was only seen in high-quality candidates, and for those rated as low-quality, the drive to self-verify weakened their position. The third study was designed to test the mechanism behind this effect. For this, the researchers surveyed 300 people on their self-verification striving and selected those who were extremely high and extremely low in the distribution. The individuals participated in a mock job interview, which were then transcribed and submitted to text analysis.

    It revealed differences in candidates’ language use as a function of their self-verification drive. People with a strong self-verification drive communicated in a more fluid way about themselves, and were ultimately perceived as more authentic and less misrepresentative. The team say that these perceptions ultimately explain why high-self-verifying candidate can flourish on the job market.


  3. Researchers develop system that detects, translates sarcasm on social media

    July 7, 2017 by Ashley

    From the American Technion Society press release:

    Researchers in the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management have developed a system for interpreting sarcastic statements in social media. The system, developed by graduate student Lotam Peled, under the guidance of Assistant Professor Roi Reichart, is called Sarcasm SIGN (sarcasm Sentimental Interpretation GeNerator).

    “There are a lot of systems designed to identify sarcasm, but this is the first that is able to interpret sarcasm in written text,” said Peled. “We hope in the future, it will help people with autism and Asperger’s, who have difficulty interpreting sarcasm, irony and humor.”

    Based on machine translation, the new system turns sarcastic sentences into honest (non-sarcastic) ones. It will, for example, turn a sarcastic sentence such as, “The new ‘Fast and Furious’ movie is awesome. #sarcasm” into the honest sentence, “The new Fast and Furious movie is terrible.”

    Despite the vast development in this field, and the successes of sentiment analysis applications on “social media intelligence,” existing applications do not know how to interpret sarcasm, where the writer writes the opposite of what (s)he actually means.

    In order to teach the system to produce accurate interpretations, the researchers compiled a database of 3,000 sarcastic tweets that were tagged with #sarcasm, where each tweet was interpreted into a non-sarcastic expression by five human experts. In addition, the system was trained to identify words with strong sarcastic sentiments — for example, the word “best” in the tweet, “best day ever” — and to replace them with strong words that reveal the true meaning of the text. The system was examined by a number of (human) judges, who gave its interpretations high scores of fluency and adequacy, agreeing that in most cases it produced a semantically and linguistically correct sentence.

    Automatic identification and analysis of sentiment in text is a very complex challenge being explored by many researchers around the world because of its commercial potential and scientific importance. Sentiment identification could be used in social, commercial, and other applications to improve communication between people and computers, and between social media users.


  4. Study suggests fast typists more likely to emerge as virtual team leaders

    July 4, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Iowa press release:

    A new study from the University of Iowa finds that to the fast typist go the leadership spoils.

    The study suggests that the fleet-fingered are more likely to emerge as the leaders of virtual work teams that have members scattered in multiple offices.

    “Individuals who can type faster are able to more quickly communicate their thoughts and drive the direction of a team in a collaborative work setting, whereas individuals with lower abilities lag behind their counterparts,” says Greg Stewart, professor of management and organizations in the UI’s Tippie College of Business and co-author of the study.

    More and more American businesses are using virtual teams, where employees from different geographic locations use technology to work together on a project. While many dispersed work teams use video streaming or talk on the phone, much of their communication still relies on text-based tools, such as email, texting, or instant messaging services.

    Past studies have shown leaders emerge differently from virtual teams than they do when team members sit around a conference room table, so that working in a virtual conference room can play an important role in a project’s direction and final results.

    In the recent study, the research team conducted an experiment that divided 344 participants into four-member teams. Some teams separated all four members into different rooms; some had two in one room, two in another; while some had three in one room and one in another, etc. Each member then played the role of the leadership team of a Hollywood studio deciding which of several scripts to produce, based on various marketing studies they read. Unless they were in the same room together, the team members communicated only by texting with a computer.

    After the experiment, the participants completed a questionnaire, at which time they were asked to rate the leadership ability of their colleagues, among other things.

    The survey found that typing ability was positively related to leadership perceptions. Individuals who could type well — taking into account both speed and accuracy — were more likely to emerge as leaders within the experiment.

    “One explanation is that individuals who can type fast are simply able to communicate more information within a given period of time,” says Steve Charlier, who led the study as part of his doctoral thesis at the Tippie College and is now an associate professor at Georgia Southern University. “In turn, adept users of electronic communication are more likely to set strategy, drive conversations, and influence work teams as a whole.”

    The study also found that physical presence played a role in leadership scores, as team members tended to give higher scores to members who were in a room with them than members in other locations. The exception was on teams where members were fully dispersed in separate locations, in which case location had no effect on a person’s leadership score.

    Stewart says this dynamic could make it difficult for team members who are in a location by themselves to emerge as the leader of a team when other members are in the same place.

    The paper, “Emergent leadership in virtual teams: A Multilevel Investigation of individual communication and team dispersion antecedents,” was published recently in the journal Leadership Quarterly.


  5. Study identifies most popular selfies for various demographics

    June 30, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Georgia Institute of Technology press release:

    When it comes to selfies, appearance is (almost) everything.

    To better understand the photographic phenomenon and how people form their identities online, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers combed through 2.5 million selfie posts on Instagram to determine what kinds of identity statements people make by taking and sharing selfies.

    Nearly 52 percent of all selfies fell into the appearance category: pictures of people showing off their make-up, clothes, lips, etc. Pics about looks were two times more popular than the other 14 categories combined. After appearances, social selfies with friends, loved ones and pets were the most common (14 percent). Then came ethnicity pics (13 percent), travel (7 percent), and health and fitness (5 percent).

    The researchers noted that the prevalence of ethnicity selfies (selfies about a person’s ethnicity, nationality or country of origin) is an indication that people are proud of their backgrounds. They also found that most selfies are solo pictures, rather than taken with a group.

    The data was gathered in the summer of 2015. The Georgia Tech team believes the study is the first large-scale empirical research on selfies.

    Overall, an overwhelming 57 percent of selfies on Instagram were posted by the 18-35-year-old crowd, something the researchers say isn’t too surprising considering the demographics of the social media platform. The under-18 age group posted about 30 percent of selfies. The older crowd (35+) shared them far less frequently (13 percent). Appearance was most popular among all age groups.

    Lead author Julia Deeb-Swihart says selfies are an identity performance — meaning that users carefully craft the way they appear online and that selfies are an extension of that. This is similar to William Shakespeare’s famous line: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

    “Just like on other social media channels, people project an identity that promotes their wealth, health and physical attractiveness,” Deeb-Swihart said. “With selfies, we decide how to present ourselves to the audience, and the audience decides how it perceives you.”

    This work is grounded in the theory presented by Erving Goffman in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. The clothes we choose to wear and the social roles we play are all designed to control the version of ourselves we want our peers to see.

    “Selfies, in a sense, are the blending of our online and offline selves,” Deeb-Swihart said. “It’s a way to prove what is true in your life, or at least what you want people to believe is true.”

    The researchers gathered the data by searching for “#selfie,” then used computer vision to confirm that the pictures actually included faces. Nearly half of them didn’t. They found plenty of spam with blank images or text. The accounts were using the hashtag to show up in more searches to gain more followers.

    The study, “Selfie-Presentation in Everyday Life: A Large-scale Characterization of Selfie Contexts on Instagram,” was presented in May at the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media in Montreal.


  6. Study suggests music sessions may help those with speech difficulties

    June 29, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Plymouth press release:

    Tailored music sessions could be crucial in transforming the lives of millions of people whose speech is impacted by learning difficulties, strokes, dementia, brain damage and autism, a new study suggests.

    It could enable individuals and their families to feel less isolated or neglected within society, while enhancing their ability to communicate, both with each other and the wider world.

    But consistent funding and provision needs to be increased, while health and community providers need to implement a more integrated approach to using music in supporting those impacted by strokes and dementia.

    Those are among the key findings of Beyond Words, a project led by the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Music Zone (PMZ) and funded by the Arts Council England Research Grants programme.

    It focused on those who have problems communicating with words — who the researchers now term as being ‘post-verbal’ — and how music might be used to help them.

    The study is the first to focus on post-verbal people and music, and one of the first to explore how music can have a positive effect on a wide range of health-related issues and how future provision might take them all into account rather than focussing on only specific groups within society.

    Jocey Quinn, Professor of Education at the University, led the study which involved a series of interviews, focus groups and arts workshops, as well as observing the regular sessions offered by PMZ.

    She said: “What we have shown is that music can give people a voice, allowing them to explore their creativity as well as communicating both pleasure and pain. In post-verbal children, music can enable carers and families to see the full potential of the individual, while in someone with dementia, a person’s identity can re-emerge when families might have thought it had been lost. This is not simply talking about a minority group, but millions of people who currently do not get good provision, and finding ways to give people hope for the future.”

    Debbie Geraghty is the Executive Director of Plymouth Music Zone, the award-winning charity which was the focus of the groundbreaking longitudinal research. The charity is at the forefront of using music as a powerful tool for inclusion and social change and reaches out to vulnerable children, young people and adults across Plymouth and beyond.

    She added: “This research really shines a light on the tremendous personal and social impacts music can have on individuals and, indeed, how to go about using music to achieve those changes. Surprisingly for us though, it shows just how much those effects really ripple out among families and communities and uncovers the true depth and importance of the work. Plymouth Music Zone willingly opened its doors to researchers because we care so deeply about using the power of music to include and value everyone in society. I hope these valuable insights influence others far and wide as the participants who took part in this research have enrichened our lives and taught us more about the importance of connection, kindness and care than we could ever have imagined possible.”

    For the project, research assistant Claudia Blandon spent 16 months observing sessions delivered by PMZ and following the lives of 25 people who attend sessions at the centre and other community venues like care homes. MPZ’s Training and Research Manager and Music Leader, Anna Batson, was the third member of the research team who brought musical expertise to the findings.

    It also involved interviews with 44 family members, which offered an insight into the richness of the lives led by ‘post-verbal’ people, 30 arts workshops with the post-verbal people and four focus groups with music leaders and volunteers based around current provision and how they felt it might be enhanced.

    The final report is now being communicated to policy makers, charities and others in the hope that the type of sessions offered at Plymouth Music Zone, and other similar centres, can be increased in a sustainable manner.

    Some of its findings have already been communicated during conferences in Plymouth, Poland and the United States, with the hope that the lessons learned could be implemented internationally.

    Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Music Zone through our National-Lottery funded Research Grants programme to carry out this important project. Our research programme aims to deepen knowledge and understanding of the impact of art and culture, and the complex role it plays in our experience as individuals and a society. We are pleased to see that the results of this study provide credible and robust evidence that demonstrates the wide social benefits of art and culture and hope this goes some way to making the links truly recognised.”


  7. Study examines line between education and personal experience in the classroom

    by Ashley

    From the Concordia University press release:

    In the classroom, what’s the line between education and personal experience?

    This is a question addressed by Concordia alumnus Jason Butler (PhD 14) in an article recently published by The Arts in Psychotherapy.

    In the course of a North American and UK study, he found that the conflicting demands of education and therapy within the classroom can cause emotional stress and confusion among students in drama therapy and other professions using dramatic enactment.

    His conclusion? The use of personal material must be better defined to protect both students and faculty.

    “When educating therapists, particularly using experiential methods, things can become blurry,” Butler notes.

    “Instructors often take for granted that doing role-plays or other enactments within the classroom are relatively benign acts. However, this research shows that material can resonate with students in complex ways that often inhibit their learning and development.”

    Butler’s study offers eight recommendations for improving the practice of drama therapy education.

    These include increased transparency between teachers and students; clearer policies on the use of affective material in the classroom; guidelines for evaluating and assessing emotional performance; and discussions within the professions about ethical and pedagogical practices.

    “These findings point us in in the direction of creating better systems and pedagogical approaches to enhance the student experience and educate more effective therapists.”

    The impact of self-regulation

    In the study, students reported that they were asked to incorporate personal material into their assignments with the caveat that they avoid anything overwhelming.

    The expectation of self-regulation without clear guidelines for evaluating what was appropriate created stress and uncertainty.

    Some students also found the transition from mock therapy to teaching jarring, as it left emotional impacts insufficiently addressed or resolved. Others experienced uncertainty over how or if their emotional engagement would be graded.

    For example, in a teaching demonstration an instructor might ask a student to assume the role of a trauma survivor without knowing they have direct experience as such. The student may feel obliged to engage with potentially harmful material in an inappropriate setting due to classroom pressure and the potential for evaluation.

    Butler is quick to point out that affect is not the problem, however.

    Affective engagement can be a powerful tool for facilitating learning,” he notes.

    “Research has shown that therapists who are more aware of their own emotional experience are better equipped to work with the emotional experiences of their clients. The challenge here is to channel that affect in a responsible and transparent manner.”

    Better systems and pedagogical approaches

    Butler conducted interviews and focus groups with students and faculty members at three drama therapy training programs in North America and the United Kingdom.

    The data was sorted into themes and coded inductively to form a larger picture or research model of the student experience of affective engagement in the classroom.

    That model showed that students wrestle with expectations regarding the appropriate level of engagement. This often leads to strong emotional responses in the classroom, which in turn lead to negative consequences. Some students leave or fail out of the program; it is recommended that all seek therapy.

    For Butler, the findings suggest that more transparent communication is required between teachers and students.

    “Without an understanding of the processes at play, we are not able to capitalize on the strengths that come from these approaches to learning.”


  8. Researchers examine science behind musicians’ movements

    June 27, 2017 by Ashley

    From the McMaster University press release:

    Researchers at McMaster are one step closer to solving one of the mysteries of social interaction: how musicians communicate during a performance and anticipate one another’s moves without saying a word.

    The findings are important because a clearer appreciation of how musicians silently work together — across tempo changes, phrasing and musical dynamics — will improve our understanding of nonverbal communication. That could lead to better techniques to reach those with conditions such as autism or dementia, say researchers.

    Using sophisticated technology, which included infrared markers, motion capture sensors and mathematical modelling, scientists examined the movements of musicians from two professional string quartets. They found they could predict from the body sway of one musician, what another would do next.

    While some assumed the role as leaders, and others followers, researchers found the leaders were far more influential in the ensemble.

    They also found the degree of body sway communication among the musicians was connected to their perceptions of how well they performed together.

    “Although we are often not consciously aware of it, non-verbal communications between people is common in many situations and influences who we like and who we don’t like,” explains Dan Bosnyak, a researcher and technical director at McMaster’s LIVELab, where the work was conducted.

    “The methodology developed in this study could be useful for understanding many different types of group behaviour, such as understanding communication problems in autistic children or determining the best crowd control procedures for an emergency evacuation,” he says.

    Researchers also plan to analyze whether body sway influences other forms of social interaction, such as romantic relationships.

    They plan to run a speed dating study this summer, where they will investigate whether the amount of body movement coordination between two people interacting for a very short period of time — just three minutes — can predict a romantic match.

    The study was published online in the journal PNAS.


  9. Study suggests wisdom of crowds may prevail over group with a single influential leader

    June 25, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Pennsylvania press release:

    Anyone following forecasting polls leading up to the 2016 election likely believed Hillary Clinton would become the 45th president of the United States. Although this opinion was the consensus among most political-opinion leaders and media, something clearly went wrong with these prediction tools.

    Though it may never be known for certain the reasons for the discrepancy between public perception and the electoral reality, new findings from the University of Pennsylvania’s Damon Centola may offer a clue: the wisdom of a crowd is in the network.

    The classic “wisdom of crowds” theory goes like this: If we ask a group of people to guess an outcome, the group’s guess will be better than any individual expert. Thus, when a group tries to make a decision, in this case, predicting the outcome of an election, the group does a better job than experts. For market predictions, geopolitical forecasting and crowdsourcing product ideas, the wisdom of crowds has been shown to even outperform industry experts.

    That is true — as long as people don’t talk to each other. When people start sharing their opinions, their conversations can lead to social influences that produce “groupthink” and destroy the wisdom of the crowd. So says the classic theory.

    But Centola, an associate professor in Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication and School of Engineering and Applied Science and director of the Network Dynamics Group, discovered the opposite. When people talk to each other, the crowd can get smarter. Centola, along with Ph.D. candidate Joshua Becker and recent Ph.D. graduate Devon Brackbill, published the findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    “The classic theory says that if you let people talk to each other groups go astray. But,” said Centola, “we find that even if people are not particularly accurate, when they talk to each other, they help to make each other smarter. Whether things get better or worse depends on the networks.

    “In egalitarian networks,” he said, “where everyone has equal influence, we find a strong social-learning effect, which improves the quality of everyone’s judgements. When people exchange ideas, everyone gets smarter. But this can all go haywire if there are opinion leaders in the group.”

    An influential opinion leader can hijack the process, leading the entire group astray. While opinion leaders may be knowledgeable on some topics, Centola found that, when the conversation moved away from their expertise, they still remained just as influential. As a result, they ruined the group’s judgment.

    “On average,” he said, “opinion leaders were more likely to lead the group astray than to improve it.”

    The online study included more than 1,300 participants, who were placed into one of three experimental conditions. Some were placed into one of the “egalitarian” networks, where everyone had an equal number of contacts and everyone had equal influence. Others were placed into one of the “centralized” networks, in which a single opinion leader was connected to everyone, giving that person much more influence in the group. Each of the networks contained 40 participants. Finally, Centola had several hundred subjects participate in a “control” group, without any social networks.

    In the study, all of the participants were given a series of estimation challenges, such as guessing the number of calories in a plate of food. They were given three tries to get the right answer. Everyone first gave a gut response.

    Then, participants who were in social networks could see the guesses made by their social contacts and could use that information to revise an answer. They could then see their contacts’ revisions and revise their answers again. But this time it was their final answer. Participants were awarded as much as $10 based on the accuracy of their final guess. In the control group, participants did the same thing, but they were not given any social information between each revision.

    “Everyone’s goal was to make a good guess. They weren’t paid for showing up,” Centola said, “only for being accurate.”

    Patterns began to emerge. The control groups initially showed the classic wisdom of the crowd but did not improve as people revised their answers. Indeed, if anything, they got slightly worse. By contrast, the egalitarian networks also showed the classic wisdom of the crowd but then saw a dramatic increase in accuracy. Across the board, in network after network, the final answers in these groups were consistently far more accurate than the initial “wisdom of the crowd.”

    “In a situation where everyone is equally influential,” Centola said, “people can help to correct each other’s mistakes. This makes each person a little more accurate than they were initially. Overall, this creates a striking improvement in the intelligence of the group. The result is even better than the traditional wisdom of the crowd! But, as soon as you have opinion leaders, social influence becomes really dangerous.”

    In the centralized networks, Centola found that, when the opinion leaders were very accurate, they could improve the performance of the group. But even the most accurate opinion leaders were consistently wrong some of the time.

    “Thus,” Centola said, “while opinion leaders can sometimes improve things, they were statistically more likely to make the group worse off than to help it.

    The egalitarian network was reliable because the people who were more accurate tended to make smaller revisions, while people who were less accurate revised their answers more. The result is that the entire crowd moved toward the more accurate people, while, at the same time, the more accurate people also made small adjustments that improved their score.”

    These findings on the wisdom of crowds have startling real-world implications in areas such as climate-change science, financial forecasting, medical decision-making and organizational design.

    For example, while engineers have been trying to design ways to keep people from talking to each other when making important decisions in an attempt to avoid groupthink, Centola’s findings suggest that what matters most is the network. A group of equally influential scientists talking to one another will likely lead to smarter judgments than might arise from keeping them independent.

    He is currently working on implementing these findings to improve physicians’ decision-making. By designing a social network technology for use in hospital settings, it may be possible to reduce implicit bias in physicians’ clinical judgments and to improve the quality of care that they can offer.

    Whether new technologies are needed to improve the way the groups talk to each other, or whether we just need to be cautious about the danger of opinion leaders, Centola said it’s time to rethink the idea of the wisdom of crowds.

    “It’s much better to have people talk to each other and argue for their points of view than to have opinion leaders rule the crowd,” he said. “By designing informational systems where everyone’s voices can be heard, we can improve the judgment of the entire group. It’s as important for science as it is for democracy.”


  10. Study suggests culture affects nature of linguistic cues to deception

    June 17, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Lancaster University press release:

    Psychologists have discovered that people’s language changes when they lie depending on their cultural background.

    Professor Paul Taylor of Lancaster University in the UK said: “Science has long known that people’s use of language changes when they lie. Our research shows that prevalent beliefs about what those changes look like are not true for all cultures.”

    The researchers asked participants of Black African, South Asian, White European and White British ethnicity to complete a Catch-the-Liar task in which they provided genuine and false statements.

    They found the statements of Western liars tend to include fewer first-person “I” pronouns than the statements of truth-tellers. This is a common finding and believed to be due to the liar trying to distance themselves from the lie.

    However, they did not find this difference when examining the lies of Black African and South Asian participants. Instead, these participants increased their use of first person pronoun and decreased their third person “he/she” pronouns — they sought to distance their social group rather than them self from the lie.

    There were also differences in the kinds of contextual details reported. The White European and White British participants followed the known trend of decreasing the perceptual information they provided in their lie. In contrast, the Black African and South Asian participants increased the perceptual information they gave when lying, to compensate for providing less social details.

    “The results demonstrate that linguistic cues to deception do not appear consistently across all cultures. The differences are dictated by known cultural differences in cognition and social norms.”

    This has implications for everything from forensic risk assessments, discrimination proceedings and the evaluation of asylum seekers.

    “In the absence of culture-specific training, an individual’s judgements about veracity is most likely drawn from either experience or an evidenced-based understanding based on studies of Western liars. In these scenarios, erroneous judgements of veracity may impact on justice

    “In today’s world, where law enforcement and justice are asked to respond to a greater cultural diversity of suspect it will be important to use findings such as those presented here to adapt existing practices and policies so that they afford justice for all communities within the population.”