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Registered report: measuring unconscious deception detection by skin temperature

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      Abstract

      Findings from the deception detection literature suggest that although people are not skilled in consciously detecting a liar, they may intuit that something about the person telling a lie is off. In the current proposal, we argue that observing a liar influences the observer’s physiology even though the observer may not be consciously aware of being lied to (i.e., the observers’ direct deception judgment does not accurately differentiate between liars and truth-tellers). To test this hypothesis, participants’ finger temperature will be measured while they watch videos of persons who are either honest or dishonest about their identity. We hypothesize that skin temperature will be lower when observing a liar than when observing a truth-teller. Additionally, we test whether perceiving a liar influences finger skin temperature differently when an individual is, or is not, alerted to the possibility of deceit. We do this by varying participants’ awareness of the fact that they might be lied to. Next to measuring physiological responses to liars and truth-tellers, self-reported direct and indirect veracity judgments (i.e., trustworthiness and liking) of the target persons will be assessed. We hypothesize that indirect veracity judgments will better distinguish between liars and truth-tellers than direct veracity judgments.

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      Most cited references 42

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      Universal dimensions of social cognition: warmth and competence.

      Like all perception, social perception reflects evolutionary pressures. In encounters with conspecifics, social animals must determine, immediately, whether the "other" is friend or foe (i.e. intends good or ill) and, then, whether the "other" has the ability to enact those intentions. New data confirm these two universal dimensions of social cognition: warmth and competence. Promoting survival, these dimensions provide fundamental social structural answers about competition and status. People perceived as warm and competent elicit uniformly positive emotions and behavior, whereas those perceived as lacking warmth and competence elicit uniform negativity. People classified as high on one dimension and low on the other elicit predictable, ambivalent affective and behavioral reactions. These universal dimensions explain both interpersonal and intergroup social cognition.
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        The unbearable automaticity of being.

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          Deciding advantageously before knowing the advantageous strategy.

          Deciding advantageously in a complex situation is thought to require overt reasoning on declarative knowledge, namely, on facts pertaining to premises, options for action, and outcomes of actions that embody the pertinent previous experience. An alternative possibility was investigated: that overt reasoning is preceded by a nonconscious biasing step that uses neural systems other than those that support declarative knowledge. Normal participants and patients with prefrontal damage and decision-making defects performed a gambling task in which behavioral, psychophysiological, and self-account measures were obtained in parallel. Normals began to choose advantageously before they realized which strategy worked best, whereas prefrontal patients continued to choose disadvantageously even after they knew the correct strategy. Moreover, normals began to generate anticipatory skin conductance responses (SCRs) whenever they pondered a choice that turned out to be risky, before they knew explicitly that it was a risky choice, whereas patients never developed anticipatory SCRs, although some eventually realized which choices were risky. The results suggest that, in normal individuals, nonconscious biases guide behavior before conscious knowledge does. Without the help of such biases, overt knowledge may be insufficient to ensure advantageous behavior.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            1Department of Social Psychology, Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research, Tilburg University Tilburg, Netherlands
            2University of Milan Bicocca Milan, Italy
            Author notes

            Edited by: Hans IJzerman, Tilburg University, Netherlands

            Reviewed by: Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; Hans IJzerman, Tilburg University, Netherlands; Matthew William Hale, La Trobe University, Australia

            *Correspondence: Anna E. van ’ t Veer, Department of Social Psychology, Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research, Tilburg University, Netherlands e-mail: a.vtveer@ 123456tilburguniversity.edu

            This article was submitted to Cognition, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

            Contributors
            Journal
            Front Psychol
            Front Psychol
            Front. Psychol.
            Frontiers in Psychology
            Frontiers Media S.A.
            1664-1078
            23 May 2014
            2014
            : 5
            4033093 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00442
            Copyright © 2014 van ’ t Veer, Stel, van Beest and Gallucci.

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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            Figures: 1, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 41, Pages: 9, Words: 0
            Categories
            Psychology
            Methods Article

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