Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Article Newspaper/Magazine

An automated linguistic analysis of deceptive and truthful computer-mediated communication


The present study investigates changes in both the sender’s and the target’s linguistic style across truthful and deceptive dyadic communication in a synchronous text-based setting. A computer-based analysis of 242 transcripts revealed that senders produced more words overall, decreased their use of self-oriented pronouns but increased other-oriented pronouns, and used more sense-based descriptions (e.g., seeing, touching) when lying than when telling the truth. In addition, motivated senders avoided causal terms during deception, while unmotivated senders relied more heavily on simple negations. Receivers used more words when being deceived, but they also asked more questions and used shorter sentences when being lied to than when being told the truth, especially when the sender was unmotivated. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for linguistic style matching and interpersonal deception theory.

J.T. Hancock
L. Curry
S. Goorha
M. Woodworth
Proceedings, Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. (Best Paper Nominee) (Acceptance rate: 37%)
Publication Date
January 6, 2005