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The motivational enhancement effect: Implications for our chosen modes of communication in the 21st century


Research has indicated that highly motivated liars will typically be detected more frequently than unmotivated liars because of additional emotional demands. However, previous research on this Motivational Impairment Effect has been limited to investigating deception detection in face-to-face contexts. The current research compared the effect of motivation across face-to-face and Computer-Mediated (CMC) environments. Results indicated that, contrary to Face-to-Face conversations, in a CMC environment, receivers were not sensitive to deception when their partner was highly motivated to succeed at deceiving them. Instead, motivated liars in CMC environments were significantly more successful in their deceptions. It is proposed that liars in the CMC setting were more immune to the motivational impairment effect, which operates primarily via nonverbal cues that are eliminated in CMC settings. Further, it is suggested that there may be features unique to a CMC environment that may actually facilitate a motivated deceivers success, resulting in a motivational enhancement effect.

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