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Body Language Interpretation With Intentional Deception

Body language is an essential feature of relationships and communications in today’s world. As a result, it is very relevant for leadership or management and all business components and works where communications cannot just be seen but physically observed among individuals. On top of that, body language is imperative to interactions beyond the workplace like parenting, families, and dating. Concerning clear body language, non-spoken (non-verbal) signals are being switched over irrespective of whether the signs are escorted with spoken words or not. It is essential to remember that body language functions in two ways: The movements and positioning of an individual reveal their meanings and feelings. The body language of other people reveals their senses and emotions to you. In the research at hand, I will examine how body language is interpreted with intentional deception.

This research examines the connection between facial expressions and language in trials to tell a lie in Hong Kong. As a result, an experiment was set up in the quest of testing the falsehood catchers’ capacity to rule out dishonesty by individuals speaking in Cantonese (mother tongue) or English (2nd language). Significantly, the researchers look at the two assumptions listed below:

H1: Voiced and non-verbal clues vary considerably between contributors speaking in English (second language) than those speaking in Cantonese (mother tongue).

H2: The observer group will attain greater ruling correctness when examining contributors lying in Cantonese (mother tongue) than that communicating in English (2nd language).


To institute the motivation for lying or telling the truth amongst our people using an “opinion paradigm,” we designed an experiment to assess the capacity to evaluate people’s cheating communicating in English (2nd language) or in Cantonese (mother tongue). The experiment involved two (English-speakers or Cantonese) by two (truthfulness or deception) between-people factorial strategy. Individuals were allocated to each of the state of affairs related to our two significant variables, scam and language. One of the main worries in the study of deception is that investigational plan cannot produce enough inspiration for people to try to lie (Artiga & Paternotte). On the other hand, employing the opinion paradigm, an issue was not just valued but salient for the participant. It consequently created a more significant stake as far as the experiment is concerned. The study of Au & Wong (2019) about identifying a lie has offered an authentication on the likelihood of more significant stakes crated by the opinion paradigm than the crime scene approach.

Experimental Steps and Incentive Material

To start, an outlook analysis was carried out with one hundred and thirty-five undergraduate scholars undertaking a course in criminal behavior in addition to 4 postgraduate learners. The learners were asked what they thought concerning several debatable matters incorporating reinstating capital punishment in Hong Kong, the rights of gays, and legalizing soccer betting. They were asked to rate the power of their opinions on a 5-point Likert scale. The students with strong views on some issues, that is, those allocated 1 or 5 on the gauge portraying strongly disagree or strongly agree, were selected. Additional scrutiny showed that most learners held strong views either against or for the capital punishment’s question. As a result, thirty-one scholars (six male, twenty-five female) aged between twenty to twenty-two years were chosen for video interviews and coached to tell the truth or lie on their view on capital punishment. Participants were indiscriminately allocated to communicate in their mother tongue (Cantonese) or 2nd language (English). Twenty videos (three male, seventeen female) encompassing five illustrations of each of the state of affairs with the finest sound quality, image, and content were chosen to be used in the research from the thirty-one videotaped interviews. In the quest of ensuring the fluency’s level of participants in Cantonese (Chinese) and English was enough, the researchers requested them to correspondingly degree themselves (on a Likert gauge 7 = very good, 1 = very poor) their capability bestowing to the statement below: “Please point out the grade of your Chinese/English expertise.” After conducting the decision workout, the researchers left out the videotapes of the participants who rated themselves at lower than three on the “expertise” scale two participants for the Chinese circumstance and one was for the English situation) but or else incorporated their reactions to the attitudinal queries.

A confident female English-Cantonese fluent experimenter (Ph.D. criminology’s candidate) conducted the process, and she provided consistent queries in Cantonese or English concerned the allocated condition. In this research, the interviewer turned a blind eye to the investigational state of affairs to avert likely bias in the interviewing stage. In the experiment’s initial preparatory phase, each participant was provided with instructions in a noiseless dialogue room. The observers asked each participant to go through and afterward orally coached how to address the Cantonese questions using consistent writing. The participants were interrogated by the same fluent female interrogator/cross-examiner on their view of “legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime” and if they were deceiving on it. The order of the questions looked as follows:

  • What is your view regarding “legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime?’
  • Can you explain why you hold such a view?
  • Did you make this up a moment ago?
  • Is this your accurate view?
  • Are you telling a lie to me now?

The entire cross-examination was recorded. Each of the participants was made to sit on a chair where they were fully visible in the quest of monitoring their facial expression and body movements. There was not just a standardization of questions, but there was an establishment of a rapport at the start of the interview within all investigational circumstances. As soon as the contributor moved in the examining room, the interrogator would give them a handshake and introduced herself by name. The contributors were requested to fill an inquiry form regarding their confidence in convincing or misleading the interrogator on top of their attitude towards the research. General queries linked to behavioral and emotional cues regarding exposure of lies are also included.

Due to the generation of stimulus, twenty-seven postgraduate learners pursuing criminology (fourteen male and thirteen female aged between the range of twenty-five and fifty-five, with most of them being below thirty-five years: 62.9 percent) willingly agreed to be enrolled to participate in the exercise of detecting a lie. They incorporated one psychologist, one lawyer, 3 ICAC officers, three social workers, seven police officers, four correctional officers, and eight others (1 journalist, three researchers, and 4 Excise and Custom officers). This observer group was instructed to watch all the twenty videos and record their uncovering cheating attitudes and judgments linked with detecting a lie by filling in a questionnaire.


Judgment Correctness

The entire conclusion accurateness for the observers was above a unplanned level; 68.35 percent (n=27, p< .05, t=10.02). Even though the outcomes showed no considerable diversities in the mean score through each of the circumstances (as shown in table 1), the observer group scored well when participants were deceiving in English. Similarly, the observer group managed to note better the truth-tellers among Cantonese speakers than among the contributors who spoke in English. In summary, the observer group succeeded more in recording deceivers communicating in the English language than in their inborn Cantonese. Nonetheless, the contributors made more errors classifying the English speakers who were telling the truth.

Controlled Behavioral Cues

One of the biggest concerns was that using the second language in speaking might influence the judgments of the observer group because of a rise in the “illustrators” (body movements or expressions used in emphasizing a speech) portrayed by those speaking the truth or lying in English (2nd language). A comprehensive communicative scrutiny of these videotapes revealed that when speaking the truth or lying in a 2nd language (English), contributors demonstrated different non-verbal arrangements showing anxiety and uneasiness. In turn, these more non-verbal behaviors and transformations in their standard behavior may have made the observer group to be confused. On top of the observer group’s confusion, participants in the video-recorded interviews may also have been aware of their verbal and non-verbal conduct varied while telling the truth or lying in their 2nd language. Researchers requested contributors whether they had tried to govern the number of interactive clues shown during the discussion.

Results showed that participants in the videotaped interviews had openly attempted to control their speech hesitations and direct eye exchange in addition to transformations in voice tone. However, the Cantonese speakers had not, as shown in table 2. Additionally, irrespective of language conditions, table 2 shows that liars, generally, stated less control over verbal pointers of dishonesty like “facial languages” (i.e., micro-languages), “body and head movements,” “foot and leg movements,” and “laughing and smiling” than did those who were telling the truth.

Condition Video


Mean (%)

n = 27

SD SE Least possible (% correct) Extreme

(% correct)

Cantonese (truth) 5 70.78 16.2384 7.2621 50.0 88.5


5 63.84 13.4782 6.0277 50.0 88.5


5 66.94 21.8544 9.7736 30.8 88.5


5 73.08 14.1662 6.3353 61.5 88.5
Total 20 68.35 15.8042 3.5339 30.8 88.5

Table 1: Judgment Accuracy

Cues English (lying %) n = 5 Cantonese (lying %) n = 5 English (truth %) n = 5 Cantonese (truth %) n = 5
Direct eye links 80 80 100 80
Arm and hand actions 60 60 60 40
Laugh and smile 0 40 40 40
Foot and leg actions 20 20 40 40
Speech instabilities 20 40 40 100
Upper body actions 20 80 20 40
Transformations in the tone of voice 60 40 100 60
Head actions 20 20 60 40
Facial expressions 40 40 80 80

Table 2: Clues Depending on Detecting Lying

Additionally, liars reported lesser control over verbal pointers of lying, like transformations in voice tone and speech hesitation. Outstandingly, lower ratings of control were seen among the participants being deceitful in English than those being deceitful in Cantonese. Without a doubt, the participants had prior knowledge that their verbal and non-verbal conduct varied when they were using second and first language.


By questioning and observing the contributors, it was obvious that they acknowledged the significance of body language in noticing intentional cheating. Generally, it is accepted that individuals can decode the emotions of others or formulating impressions by looking at their faces and focusing on what is being discussed. Deceitful in a 2nd language seems to interrupt with emotions and facial expressions of an individual. This implies that a person cannot evaluate lie uncovering without necessarily considering cultural and medium factors. Better compression of the differences that arise when using the second language to communicate in diverse cultures would result in more efficient communication and advancements in the truth of lie uncovering decision. Second, armed with the capability to make out verbal and non-verbal behavior is acquiescent to training and learning instead of intercultural training, innate skill and training in interviewing or lie detection ought to maximize truthfulness of uncovering decision across or within cultures.

Approving our 1st hypothesis, spoken and non-verbal pointers of dishonesty varied when partakers were either telling the truth or lying in Cantonese rather than English. Conflicting our anticipations, observers were better as far as recognizing English-speaking liars than their Cantonese counterparts, thus rejecting our 2nd hypothesis at the end of the day. It is worth noting that while observers attained the most significant judgment correctness with English speaking falsifiers, they performed poorly as far as accurately judging English-speaking truth-tellers. Generally, when the participants were telling the truth or lying in English, they portrayed more verbal and non-verbal pointers of dishonesty than Cantonese speakers. As a result, we could not rule out the likelihood that those extra Para-linguistic aspects and body movements made the observers get confused during the process. The entire procedure of detecting deception incorporates identifying accurate people and deceptive ones, thus these ‘false mistakes’ or disbelieving-the-truth errors that were experiential as without doubt as wearisome as false negatives and called for more consideration.

There is a likelihood that people may be more self-conscious on their honest performances than they are beyond the investigational circumstance, which leads to influencing the amount of the misleading signs they provide may be undervalued. Despite picking up the extent of the impacts, we have observed interactive diversities between bilingual English- and Cantonese-speaking liars. The magnitude of these diversities was that display rules or social learning could not be thoroughly substantiated or explored by the methodology at hand. Our outcomes proposers that a link between dishonesty and sensations like embarrassment, hatred, and surprise, although their universality rests ambiguous, particularly cross-cultural diversities in presentation rules in the perspective of exciting consultations. Apart from researching bilingual Hong Kong Chinese, it would be significant to look at Mandarin-speakers as far as lie detection is concerned. The above notion is attributable to the fact that they share the same culture but whose presentation rules could be different due to the diversity in socio-cultural behavior and learning. Researchers such as Berezenko (2018), Dings (2017), Noonan (2018), and Navarro (2017) asserts that a listener may tailor their linguistic and movement actions to align them with those of the talker, a procedure referred to as “interactional synchrony.” To talk about this apprehension over the experimentation at hand, the cross-examiner was instructed to evade extra non-verbal actions on top of being linguistically neutral when the interview is being conducted. As a result, the researchers efficiently minimized synchronicity between the participants and the interviewer in the present research.

Cantonese- and English-speaking liars considered deceiving needed considerably more rational means than Cantonese and English-speaking truth-tellers and propose an association between cognitive and language features. On top of that, researchers found English-speakers liars to be engaging more reaction potential and voice tone transformations than Cantonese-speaking liars, even though the diversities are not significant in terms of statistics. With the rise in cognitive burden, the possibility of leaks among liars improved, incorporating leakages between those utilizing the 2nd language. Because communicating in one’s 1st and 2nd language was enough to cause behavioral diversities among truth-tellers and liars, the researchers would expect even more diversities between native Cantonese talkers and native English speakers undertaking the same experimentations.

Another significant bilingual impact observed by researchers was the spectacle of code-switching that can be referred to as using words from two diverse languages in one address. Research by Levitan et al. (2018) has shown that English and Chinese are usually utilized, and code-switching takes place every day among Chinese in Hong Kong. On the other hand, concerning code-switching and cognitive factors, not until in the recent past have psycholinguists researched the cognitive procedures incorporated in code-switching. Code-switching is among the approaches adopted by bilinguals to lessen the mental burden of having to use and remember two diverse linguistic methods (Kalbfleisch & Docan-Morgan, 2019). Because liars in this research deliberated deceiving to need more perceptive means than truth-telling, code-switching was noted among 3 of the liars but only once among the participants telling the truth. The magnitude to which code-switching aids lighten the rational burden while speaking the truth or deceiving calls for more investigation.


This research reinforces hesitations that speaking the truth or deceiving in one’s 2nd language can raise verbal and non-verbal pointers that are often linked with lying. Additionally, the proof provided here draws attention to the probability of “untrue positive” mistakes in miss-noting truth-tellers when the 2nd language is used. On the other hand, the magnitude to which viewers point these more non-verbal clues either to the correspondent’s aim to tell a lie, to inability, or to nervousness to prompt the 2nd language is indeterminate. Culture and language researchers would agree that majority of people across the world are multi- or bi-lingual. The research at hand has partly examined the link between deception detection and language. It was found that rises in some behavioral pointers can assist in differentiating deceitful and truthful people. Grounded on the fact that lying needs more perceptive possessions compared to telling the truth, lies could turn out to be transparent through non-verbal or verbal leaks. The demand for immediate advancements in detecting lying and the submission of deception detections study to real-life sets is significant. Even though there are complexities with cross-cultural investigations, the impact of cultural features linked with deception detection remains a large area for examining in a domain in which cross-cultural, twofold language and cross-border scrutiny are progressively common.


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