What is the deception theory and the leakage hierarchy? 

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Both deception theory and the leakage hierarchy are related to communication and how individuals respond when presented with or stating a lie. Deception theory, formally called Interpersonal Deception Theory or IDT, suggests that most people overestimate their ability to detect a lie. This overconfidence in our ability to decipher the...

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Both deception theory and the leakage hierarchy are related to communication and how individuals respond when presented with or stating a lie. Deception theory, formally called Interpersonal Deception Theory or IDT, suggests that most people overestimate their ability to detect a lie. This overconfidence in our ability to decipher the truth could have dire consequences in business when individuals are negotiating contracts or agreements. The leakage hierarchy suggests that someone lying cannot control all of their verbal and non-verbal cues. Studies suggest that the body is a much better indicator of the truth than the face. Additionally the tone of someone’s voice may reveal more about the truth than the speaker’s actual words. Therefore, verbal content and facial expressions can be more easily controlled then the tone of our voice and body movements when speaking.

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Deception theory as it relates to interpersonal communication analyzes how individuals respond to perceived or actual deception while in the process of direct communication. It looks at how individuals (both the sender and receiver) react to deceitful tactics both on the conscious and subconscious level.

The leakage hierarchy as it relates to the deception theory looks at the unintentional non-verbal behaviour or cues that may reveal ones internal state and possibility of intended deceit. The hierarchy is as follows: 

  1. Attempted control
  2. Arousal
  3. Affective Approach
  4. Cognitive factors 

Actions like a persons body language, manner of speech or tone of voice can reveal both their emotional state as well as the possibility to deceive. 

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