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Promises and lies: can observers detect deception in written messages

Overview of attention for article published in Experimental Economics, July 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (54th percentile)

Mentioned by

3 tweeters


7 Dimensions

Readers on

21 Mendeley
Promises and lies: can observers detect deception in written messages
Published in
Experimental Economics, July 2016
DOI 10.1007/s10683-016-9488-x
Pubmed ID

Jingnan Chen, Daniel Houser


We design a laboratory experiment to examine predictions of trustworthiness in a novel three-person trust game. We investigate whether and why observers of the game can predict the trustworthiness of hand-written communications. Observers report their perception of the trustworthiness of messages, and make predictions about the senders' behavior. Using observers' decisions, we are able to classify messages as "promises" or "empty talk." Drawing from substantial previous research, we hypothesize that certain factors influence whether a sender is likely to honor a message and/or whether an observer perceives the message as likely to behonored: the mention of money; the use of encompassing words; and message length. We find that observers have more trust in longer messages and "promises"; promises that mention money are significantly more likely to be broken; and observers trust equally in promises that do and do not mention money. Overall, observers perform slightly better than chance at predicting whether a message will be honored. We attribute this result to observers' ability to distinguish promises from empty talk, and to trust promises more than empty talk. However, within each of these two categories, observers are unable to discern between messages that senders will honor from those that they will not.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 3 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 21 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 21 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 8 38%
Student > Master 4 19%
Student > Doctoral Student 3 14%
Lecturer 2 10%
Researcher 2 10%
Other 2 10%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 7 33%
Unspecified 5 24%
Psychology 5 24%
Social Sciences 3 14%
Philosophy 1 5%
Other 0 0%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 2. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 16 May 2017.
All research outputs
of 10,263,476 outputs
Outputs from Experimental Economics
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Experimental Economics
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Altmetric has tracked 10,263,476 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 47th percentile – i.e., 47% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 161 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a little more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 6.8. This one is in the 34th percentile – i.e., 34% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 265,258 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 54% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 4 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than 2 of them.