Different eye contact, unfortunately, there are biased perspectives among

Different
aspects of questions about untruth/deception have become a popular topic and
object of study in psychological area across a long period of time, involving
topics such as, the types of deception, the way to detect deception and the
motivations of deception. In our daily life, it also occurs in a high frequency.
For example, when teacher asks you why you are late for class, when father asks
you why you stay out late, when giving comments on somebody else, or when your
friends tell you about his/her amazing experience. Among a large amount of
questions around untruth, lots of researchers showed their interests on the
behaviours/cues of deception. As some uncomfortable feelings would be appeared when
people are lying, the behaviours would be slight different from normal people (Hartwig
and Bond, 2011). The first systematic research about the cues of deception was
carried out by Zuckerman, Depaulo, and Rosenthal(1981). The study examined the
cues of deception in both verbal and nonverbal forms. This research is quite
comprehensive as they covered 36 independent samples. After this, a great deal
of studies appeared, relating to the cues of deception. In one of the typical studies
(Vrij & Semin, 1996), the result showed deception would associated with reducing
eye contact (averting gaze), pausing, moving legs, etc. And in another study
conducted by Akehurst, Köehnken,
Vrij, and Bull (1996), the results showed
the similar results about the behaviours of deception. But in terms of eye contact,
unfortunately, there are biased perspectives among different researches. For
example, Ekman(1985) demonstrated that liars are more likely to look away because
of some kind of shame or the increase of the cognitive load (Sporer &
Schwandt, 2006). Schweitzer, Brodt and Croson (2002) stood on an opposite
ground, indicating eye contact in liars would be more than normal people
because of the desire of being accepted. Additionally, the difference cultures
on eye contact should be considered into the studies, namely that cultural
variation could lead into different manner in social interactions (Hornik, 1987).
Statistically, a weak significant correlation of r=.27 between avoiding eye
contact and veracity was found by Hartwig and Bond (2011), which is much lower
than some other factors with veracity. Oppositely, Buller and Aune (1987) have
found that a significant correlation between the two variables. Besides, some null
effects have also been discovered (Vrij, 2004). Apart from these points, Mann,
Vrij and Bull (2004) figured out averting gaze appears not only as a sign of
lying, it can be the sign of feeling ashamed, guilty, inferiority. As stated
above, there are still polarised opinions in this controversial area,
particular in terms of eye contact. Also, some investigations have been carried
out through populations. A representative group of people, police officers,
gave their opinions that 75% of them agreed averting gaze is the typical cues
of deception/lying (Mann, Vrij & Bull, 2004). The data took up more than
half of the total data. Additionally, another project conducted by also shows
the high frequency in believing of eye contact (Fugita, Wexley & Hillery,
1974). Thus, there are lots of different aspects of viewpoints presented in
terms of statistic, experiment and interview. The claim is still controversial.
More researches should continue to be conducted in order to get a more accurate
result. There must be a lot of places to improve. The following paragraphs will
state my plan for examining the claim, based on previous researches and across
2 different levels of analysis (interpersonal and positional levels).

 

Method 1

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Regarding to the
first plan of my experiment, I am going to look for my participants in a
university. There are two reasons for choosing university as the experimental
place, that it is convenient to recruit participants or volunteers and lots of
people from different cultures can be found in order to investigate the claim
across international cultures. The experiment will be set as participant
observation in which participants should follow the rule and the nature of the
study. The independent variable is lying or telling the truth and the dependent
variable is eye contact or not. Generally, participants will be allocated into
two conditions: ‘lie’ condition and ‘truth’ condition. The people in the ‘lie’
group will be asked to state a lie about what they have been asked to do
before. Oppositely, the people in the ‘truth’ group will be asked to keep
honest on what they have been asked to do before. The scenario will be state in
the following ‘procedure’ section. Additionally, their behaviours will be
videotaped and will not be kept until getting participants’ permissions.

 

Participant

       Approximately 24 people
are needed to carry out the experiment involving 16 students and 8 teachers. It
will be better if people from different countries/cultures can be involved. They
will be divided into three groups: ‘student-to-student’ group, ‘student-to-teacher’
group and ‘teacher-to-student’ group. There will be four teams in each group
that every team is consists of two people. Except ‘student-to-student’ group,
the teams in the other two groups should be made up by one student and one
teacher. So there will be totally 12 teams in 3 groups. The participants will
be told that this is an experiment about testing a psychological theory instead
of telling them the details. Half of teams in each three groups will be
allocated into ‘lie’ condition and the other half will be in ‘truth’ condition.
Inclusion criteria required that participants have no any cognitive problems
and are willing to take part in the study by showing an oral statement.
Besides, each of participants will be given a debriefing explaining the actual
experimental purpose, and a gift after finishing the experiment.

 

Procedure

       Participants will be experimented
in two as a team. One is asker and the other is answerer (In the ‘student-to-teacher’
group, the asker will be teacher and the answerer will be student. Vice versa).
Firstly, two people in one team will be instructed into a specified room. The
asker then will be asked to put personal effects in another specified office
and back to the room. The answerer in the same team then will be instructed to
the office to take the stuff and hide it, then back to the room. The asker will
ask ‘where are you and what did you do?’ . Participants in the ‘lie’ condition
will be asked to state a lie about it and the participants in the ‘truth’
condition would be asked to state the truth. The same experimental setting as
stated above will be duplicated by each team in each group. Meanwhile, their
actions will be recorded for the later observation.

 

Explanation and
analysis

       The settings of the 3
independent groups are included so that I could take a deeper look into the
claim across interpersonal and positional level. More specifically, the ‘student-to-student’
group refers to interpersonal level and the other two groups refer to
positional level. The difference between actions when teacher makes a lie to
student and when student makes a lie should be subsequently observed. Besides,
the answerer are asked to hide the asker’s stuff may involves in a shame which
may lead to an intense emotion. According to DePaulo and Rosenthal (2001), the intense
emotions associate with additional cognitive load that decrease people’s behavioural
control. Namely, participants are more likely to reveal their psychological
states, and it is easier for researchers to observe. The disadvantage of this
setting, however, reduces the validity of the experiment. The reason is eye
contact may also be reduced by intense emotion (Vrij & Mann, 2001). Additionally,
another disadvantage of the design is that participants are asked to lie for
the setting of the experiment. There is much of chance to exhibit the true
purpose of the experiment. Demand characteristic which means participant may
change the natural reaction to reach the interpretation would be appeared, it
would be either self-aware or not (Weber and Cook, 1972). Although the reward
may reduce the effect as an motivation, they cannot provide the full natural
reaction on the issue once they discover the purpose of experiment.  

 

Method 2

A field research done by Samantha,
Aldert and Ray (2002) gave me the idea of the second experiment although the
purpose of their experiment was slightly different from mine. They observed the
behaviour of deception in an authentic situation by reviewing the video of
police interviews of some suspects. This condition keeps nature of experiment
to a very large extent. In my second planning experiment, it involves in
non-participant observation which participants has no relationship with researchers.
This type of observation refers to high ecological validity that makes the
study more natural (Wolman, 1964). This experiment is designed to
investigate the eye contact when the liars weave their own deception.

 

Participant

       Subject will need some children who study
between first and third year in elementary school (age from 5 to 8), and their
guardians. The guardians need to play the part of supporting actors; the
leading role would be the children, that their actions will be observed. Before
running the experiment, consent should be given to each guardian. The test will
not be ran until the consent is obtained. Besides, an assistant is needed to
take care of children and cooperate with researcher during the experiment.

 

Procedure

       The experiment could be
placed in any room but with some ‘tempting’ cakes and candies. The task for
guardians is to give the word to their children: ‘do not think of the snack on
the table’. And then, guardians will be asked to leave the place. Children and
the assistant will remain. After a period of time, the assistant will be asked
to induce children to eat the snack by giving support in oral communication or behaviour.
Then the behaviours of children will be recorded by a videotape. After about 10
minutes, guardians will be asked to come back and ask their children: ‘did u
steal snack from table?’. The reactions of those who actually steal snack will
be recorded.

 

       The recording will focus on those who eat
the sweets and lie to their guardians. Their behaviours will be observed that
if they show the actions of avoiding eye contact when they are lying. Compare
to the first experiment, the psychological states might be more complex because
of the consideration of the possible consequence which is pointed out by Hartwig
and Bond (2011) .This design, however, makes the experiment in a more real-life
situation in which subjects are uneasy to discover the purpose of experiment, it
is important to pay attentions on a number of limitations. For example, this
experiment can only applied to young children considering the validity of the
design. Adults are unlikely to receive the temptation of snacks. If bigger
temptation is applied to adults to test the claim such as money, this might be
involves in unethical actions. So as a result, it may not be generalized the
findings into wider population. The second thing that needs to be considered is
the experiment should have a large pool of participants in order to getting
enough data or result. The reason is the numbers of children who both eat
snacks and lie to their guardians cannot be predicted. The children who didn’t
reach these two criteria will be excluded from the results. Namely, the
utilization of the measured data should be improved. In turn, there will be no
sufficient data to draw the conclusion. In the experiment, the interaction
between children and their guardians refers to the positional level of explanation.
The interpersonal level of explanation can be included by changing the
guardians into children’s peers.

 

Conclusion

The first methods attempt to collect the
data from a participant observation, which may lead the decrease of ecological
validity. The method however could be generalised to population. Additionally,
there is no need of big sample of participants. The second one attempts to examine
the claim by using non-participant observation in which follow the nature of
experiment. But it would be time-consuming and a number of participants are
needed. A more balanced and structured experiment is expected. More limitations
on other affecting factors should be considered such as shame, guilt.

 

 

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