Is trusting people the secret to detecting lies?

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This 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.

Source: “Not Pollyannas, Higher Generalized Trust Predicts Lie Detection Ability” from Social Psychological and Personality Science July 19, 2010 vol. 1 no. 3 274-279

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