The 3Dice Deception Detection Device: Quantifying Deception and Its Relationship to Theory of Mind



McGuinness, Joseph

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Deceptive behavior has implications in many fields, and research by cognitive neuroscientists to uncover the functional brain networks utilized during lying and mechanisms of action is of great interest. Due to its clandestine nature, deception has proven especially difficult to measure and explain. Experimental design plays a crucial role when collecting data on the quantifiable manifestations of deception. Cognitive neuroscience models posit roles for theory of mind, cognitive monitoring, and response inhibition in both the production and detection of deceptive behaviors, especially in social situations. Yet, when Bond and Depaulo (2006) conducted a meta analysis of studies on lying, they found that less than 9% of studies incorporated social interaction between the “senders” and “receivers” of deception. Previous measures either utilize sanctioned lying, lack the social element, or lack precision and ecological validity. This thesis piloted a new measure of deception designed to improve upon previous measures by collecting the frequency (total lies told) and fluency (the difference in response times on truth trials vs. lying trials, otherwise known as response latency) with which participants lie on a trial by trial basis, in a social setting, and on their own volition. Thirty eight undergraduate students (17 female) between the ages of 18 and 34 from a large mid-Atlantic university were analyzed for frequency and fluency of lying on a new task designed to measure deception, as well as Theory of Mind ability via the Reading the Mind in the Eyes task. As hypothesized, people who lied more often also lied with less response latency, giving evidence for an overall lying ability or “deception quotient.” No correlations with Theory of Mind and lying were found. The 3Dice task offers myriad opportunities for future research into deception, operant reward, cognitive neuroscience, and economic theory.



Deception, Theory of Mind, Measuring deception, Quantifying deception, Overall deception ability, Lying