Lie Detecting for Investment Professionals: A Summary of Lying and Deceiving Behaviors



Lie Detection for Investment Professionals: A Summary of Lying and Deceptive Behaviors | CFA Institute Enterprising Investor

















Practical analysis for investment professionals

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With over 100 scientific papers to his name, Bella DePaulo, visiting professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is a preeminent authority on deceptive and deceptive behavior. In his book, The How and Why of Lying, the Harvard University-trained researcher provides a comprehensive overview of the results of hundreds of studies on lies and deception. Here is a summary of its main findings.

  • A review of 253 samples in which truth detectors showed an equal number of truths and lies found that the accuracy rate in detecting lying and deceiving behavior was only 53%. This result is extremely similar to the 54% lie detection accuracy rate found by Dr. Maria Hartwig and Dr. Charles F. Bond, Jr. in their article”Why Lie Catchers Fail: A Meta-Analysis of the Lens Model of Human Lie Judgments.”
  • Ambivalence on the part of a respondent seems to be a particularly strong indicator of lying or deception. Again, this result is similar to that found by Hartwig and Bond.
  • People, when listening, often correctly identify a lie, but when asked to engage in an assessment, they fail to listen to their intuition, thus negating the accurate assessment (Hurd and Noller 1988).
  • Additionally, truth finders report feeling more confident when they hear the truth than when they hear a lie.
  • When talking for long periods, liars have a higher pitch than those who tell the truth.
  • Liars take longer to answer a question when it is asked.
  • In general, liars are less talkative than truth tellers.
  • If liars have had time to prepare their answers, they answer questions faster than truth tellers.
  • If liars have had less time to prepare their answers, they respond to questions more slowly than truth tellers.

Here is an overview of behavioral cues and their correlations with the presence of lying behavior. Due to space constraints, not all listed behaviors can be explained. DePaulo’s book contains more details.

Rank Behavioral Index r
1 Cooperative −0.66
2 Pitch (when motivated) 0.59
3 Verbal and vocal immediacy (impressions) −0.55
4 Nervous, tense 0.51
5 Lack of memory recognized −0.42
6 Pupil dilation 0.39
seven Turn signal 0.38
8 Talk time −0.35
8 Related External Associations −0.35
8 Nervous, tense 0.35
11 logic 0.34
12 Speaking rate 0.32
13 Verbal immediacy (all categories) −0.31
14 Verbal and vocal uncertainty 0.30
14 Detailed answer 0.30
16 Spot fixes −0.29
17 Nervous, tense (overall) 0.27
18 vocal tension 0.26
19 Chin lift 0.25
19 Logical structure −0.25
21 Foot or leg movements −0.24
22 Plausibility −0.23
23 Verbal and vocal involvement −0.21
23 Repetition of words and phrases 0.21
23 Complaints 0.21
23 Ground 0.21
27 Press the lips 0.16
27 agitate, general 0.16
29 Contact lenses −0.15
30 Illustrators −0.14
31 Foot/leg movements −0.13
32 Facial pleasure −0.12

Jason Voss, CFA

Jason Voss, CFA, is relentlessly focused on improving investors’ ability to better serve end customers. He is the author of Foreword Reviews Business Book of the Year runner-up, The intuitive investor and the CEO of Advisory in active investment management (AIM). Voss also subcontracts for the well-known firm Focus Consulting Group. Previously, he was a portfolio manager at Davis Selected Advisers, LP, where he co-managed the Davis Appreciation and Income Fund for Outstanding Returns. Voss holds a BA in Economics and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Colorado.

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