Monday, August 30, 2010

More trusting people are better lie detectors

Carter and Weber make the interesting counter-intuitive observation that being a pollyanna does not make one more gullible (cf. with my Aug. 24 post). Their research:
...used a job interview context to investigate the relationship between peoples’ degrees of generalized trust—their default assessments of the likely trustworthiness of others—and their ability to detect lies. Participants watched videos of eight simulated job interviews: Half of the interviewees were completely truthful; half told a variety of lies to make themselves more attractive job candidates. Contrary to lay wisdom, high trusters were significantly better than low trusters were at detecting lies. This finding extends a growing body of theoretical and empirical work suggesting that high trusters are far from foolish Pollyannas and that low trusters’ defensiveness incurs significant costs.

1 comment:

  1. A driver with a better ability to detect danger on the road can safely drive faster as a result.

    i.e. people are high trusters *because* they detect lies better. people are low trusters because they lack that ability.

    The lack of an ability can only have a cost, not a benefit.

    Hence "defensiveness" is the result not the cause.

    How ironic.