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Researchers reveal patterns that giveaway a liar over text

  • Researchers developed an Android messaging app to collect sample texts 
  • They found women on average use more words in a text when they're lying
  • Both men and women tend to use non-committal words, such as 'maybe'

By Cheyenne Macdonald For Dailymail.com

Published: 19:20 EDT, 20 October 2017 | Updated: 01:32 EDT, 21 October 2017

While it isn’t always easy to tell when someone is lying to your face, spotting deceit in a text message can be far more difficult.

But now, researchers have discovered the patterns in a text message that indicate a person isn’t telling the truth.

A new analysis of hundreds of conversations has revealed women tend to use more words when they’re lying, along with self-oriented words such as 'I'.

Male liars, on the other hand, may be harder to pin down, as they appeared to lack many of the linguistic cues – likely because they use fewer words in messages to begin with.

While it isn¿t always easy to tell when someone is lying to your face, spotting deceit in a text message can be far more difficult. But now, researchers have discovered the patterns in a text message that indicate a person isn¿t telling the truth. Stock image
While it isn¿t always easy to tell when someone is lying to your face, spotting deceit in a text message can be far more difficult. But now, researchers have discovered the patterns in a text message that indicate a person isn¿t telling the truth. Stock image

While it isn’t always easy to tell when someone is lying to your face, spotting deceit in a text message can be far more difficult. But now, researchers have discovered the patterns in a text message that indicate a person isn’t telling the truth. Stock image

WHAT THEY FOUND 

The data revealed that text messages containing lies were, overall, longer than truthful texts.

The study also revealed that liars were more likely to use self-oriented words than they were to use ‘you.’

And, both men and women were found to use non-committal phrases more when they’re lying, which the researchers note is ‘not surprising.’

For example: 

Female’s text: '[name] gift is fine. hard to really tell. maybe it looks better in person?'

Explanation:

'I thought the gift(s) were so-so, but my sister was REALLY excited by them, so I didn't want to tell her that her opinion wasn't good.'

In the study, published to arXiv, the researchers from Cornell University developed an Android messaging app to collect sample texts from a large number of participants.

Over the course of seven days, the team gathered a total of 1,703 conversations.

They then removed the conversations that did not contain any lies, leaving them with 351.

After separating the lying and truthful messages, the team averaged word counts for each type of message, as well as for gender and student status.

They also looked at the percentages of ‘self-words’ (such as I/I’m), ‘other-words,’ (you), and noncommittal phrases (probably, possible, sure, etc).

‘Pronouns are particularly interesting in deception because one actively chooses which pronouns he/she wants to use when communicating,’ the authors explain in the paper.

‘Self-oriented pronouns show ownership and responsibility while other-oriented pronouns can signal distance and lack of accountability.’

The data revealed that text messages containing lies were, overall, longer than truthful texts.

On average, deceitful texts contained 8 words, while truthful texts contained 7.

And, the researchers also found this differed between the sexes.

While women use an average of 8 words in a text message, they tend to use 9 when they’re lying.

Men, however, use about 7 words in both truthful and deceitful texts.

The data revealed that text messages containing lies were, overall, longer than truthful texts. On average, deceitful texts contained 8 words, while truthful texts contained 7. And, the researchers also found this differed between the sexes. Stock image
The data revealed that text messages containing lies were, overall, longer than truthful texts. On average, deceitful texts contained 8 words, while truthful texts contained 7. And, the researchers also found this differed between the sexes. Stock image

The data revealed that text messages containing lies were, overall, longer than truthful texts. On average, deceitful texts contained 8 words, while truthful texts contained 7. And, the researchers also found this differed between the sexes. Stock image

The study also revealed that liars were more likely to use self-oriented words than they were to use ‘you.’

But, when examined by gender, the researchers again noticed some key differences.

‘Earlier we found that self-oriented words were used more in lying; however, when we break the data down by gender, women use self-oriented words more across the board and other-oriented words less while lying, disproving our hypothesis,’ the authors wrote.

‘Men, on the other hand, use “I” significantly less but have an increased use of “my”, and “me”.’

Both men and women, though, were found to use non-committal phrases more when they’re lying, which the researchers note is ‘not surprising.’

For men, ‘sure’ was most likely to appear, while women tend to include the word ‘try.’ 

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