Ho, S.M. & Hancock, J.T. (2019) Context in a bottle: Language-action cues in spontaneous computer-mediated deception. Computers in Human Behavior, 91, 33-41.


Context always matters in online deception. This study conceptualizes language-action cues as a dynamic and interactive representation of context, and explores indicators of interpersonal deception in spontaneous computer-mediated communication. An online game was designed and developed to simulate computer-mediated deception scenarios in pairwise interactive dialogue that is difficult to capture in the real world. The study was conducted with 40 research participants in 80 game sessions during 2014 and 2015. Research results demonstrate the efficacy of language-action cues in revealing deception during pairwise interaction. The study contributes a novel perspective on viewing interaction using language-action cues to define context, with a sociotechnical research design that can computationally differentiate between deceivers and truth-tellers in spontaneous pairwise interaction.