Interpersonal deception in the daily life

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In the daily life, all human people will having a social interaction and communicate with people in terms of changing information, making friends to each other, etc. Therefore, people will be faced through a variety of conditions or circumstances with consciously or unconsciously which has involved them into what is called "Interpersonal Deception Theory".

Interpersonal Deception Theory means that there are times when someone has to lie. Lying is a manipulation of information, but someone who wants to lie should have a strategy which could be falsification, concealment and equivocation.

Interpersonal Deception Theory means that it is trying to explain how the individual is making the interactions with the real lie or perceived in the conscious or unconscious while they are involving to each other by face to face communication. Communication would not be static because it has been influenced by not only one's goals itself, but it is also by how the interaction context. By using communication to send a message, it will affect among the behavior and message recipient and vice versa. Besides that, deception would be different from the truthful communication which means that fraud on purpose requires more significant cognitive resources than the truthful communication, does the sender involved in the deception to create a fiction, cover up and hiding a secret or equivocation dodges the issues. (Buller and Burgoon, 1996: 203-242)

Although Interpersonal Deception Theory is mainly concerned with deceptive interchanges dyadic and dialogic, Interpersonal Deception Theory gives many insights into how deceivers will behave in non-interactive and asynchronous settings. Interpersonal Deception Theory merges principles from interpersonal communication and deception to deduce a series of 18 propositions that predict the behaviours of senders and receivers in an interactive context. The two important assumptions of Interpersonal Deception Theory are that deception is goal oriented and that is what the deceivers want to minimize the responsibility for their deceit if the deceit is discovered. Another important assumption of Interpersonal Deception Theory is that deceivers strategically manipulate information to attain their goals. This goal can be accomplished by managing a message's completeness, truthfulness and/or relevance. Interpersonal Deception Theory notes that deceivers and truth tellers are alike and try to manage their image, but deceivers are different, they are trying to hide guilt will more likely engage in image management by trying to falsely describe themselves in a more positive light than is warranted. Truthful interviewees will be more likely to include negative information about them if it is warranted.

The processes to establish a good relationship with the boyfriend, friends, family, leaders or lecturers are not always smooth as envisaged. Therefore, human people must be smart to choose the way how to maintain a good relation with each other which has been existed previously.

Every people in this world will have a lied in a particular purpose, which namely was the target, maintaining their goals or saving their face themselves. Deception needs an effort and hard work to reach it. The liar has to be continued to deal with its task which was very complex in managing their lie strategy. If the lie have been too much, so there will be a leaking and this leak will affected to the non-verbal behavior and this would lead to a suspicious.

Lie will also create a feeling of guilt and doubt which will be seen from the actions or behavior by the sender who do the communication. The succession of the lie is also depends on the suspicion of the respondent. If the respondent do not have any suspicious with the information or message that the sender give, then it will become a successful lie. The respondent usually has the feelings that can be easily detected by the liar. The suspicion will be in the fact and fiction.

Based on the Buller and Burgoon theory (1996:203-242), the senders will attempt to manipulate the message that is not true which will cause the senders to have the fear of a lie that they do know. At the same time, the recipient of the message will try to find out the truth and the validity about the information will cause suspicions of the sender who has committed a lie or not. (Buller and Burgoon, 1996: 203-242)

According to Buller and Burgoon (1996:203-242), there are three kind of deceptive messages:

Central deceptive message is usually communicate in a verbal way.

Ancillary message, which are including the two way of communication by verbal and nonverbal that sometimes can reveals the truth in a particular message.

Inadvertent behaviours is usually done in non-verbal and which aims to produce a fraud from the sender through a term leaks called leakage

(Buller and Burgoon, 1996: 203-242)

Example case:

There is a university student who has been in a relationship with her boyfriend since 5 years ago, and there is unexpected thing happens in her boyfriend's parent. The mother of her boyfriend had been in the verdict of a breast cancer by doctor when she had her healthy medical checkup. Since the girl has been in a long term relationship for five years, she is so closed with her boyfriend's family. She has been treating by her boyfriend's parents like their own daughter. Because of their closed relationship, so she is calling his boyfriend's parents as Mom and Dad. The girl is taking care of her boyfriend's mother because of their relationship and also because her boyfriend is the only child in the family. Based on the situation above, there was no any person who can take care of her mother except the girl. They went to Singapore continually to do the surgery and chemotherapy treatment and radiotherapy treatment. The girl is always accompanies them to do all the things and helping them to go through the healing process.

And since the girl is also a student in a university and she is still having the class at that time, so sometimes she have to skipped the class in order to accompany her boyfriend's mother. The girl asked the permission from the lecturers that her mother is having a breast cancer and she have to go to Singapore quite often to accompany her. Finally, the lecturers give their permission to let the girl go for accompany her mother. And later on, the lecturers found out from the girl classmates or gossip news that the girl is not telling the truth about the mother who was the girl says as her mom, it is not her biologic mother but her boyfriend's mother. And the lecturers asked the girl whether it is the true information that the lecturers heard from the girl's classmates or gossip information. The girl says that because she is calling her boy friend's mother as "my mom".

In the case above, it can be considered as interpersonal deception which is based on the three aspects of deceptive messages from Buller and Burgoon (1996:202-242). There are two aspects that related with the case above are: Central deceptive message is usually communicate in a verbal way. It means that there are some miss communication and misunderstanding between the girl and the lecturers. It has been miss communication and misunderstood in the verbal way communication in which she said "her mom" who was according to her is the mother of the girl's boyfriend who was the girl considered as her own mother that might could be misunderstood by the lecturer who thinks that "her mom" was to show the biological mother of the girl. So, there is a miscommunication and misunderstanding via verbal communication way between the girl and the lecturer which can be considered as interpersonal deception by the lecturers although that the girl did not have any idea to tell a lie to the lecturers. And the other aspects is Ancillary message, which are including the two way of communication via verbal and nonverbal communication that sometimes can reveals the truth in a particular message. It means that verbally, the girl said she is going to accompany "her mom" to have her medical treatment and medical care. This girl is no intention to defraud or lie to the teacher by saying "her mom" who is the mother of her boyfriend's mother as her own mother due to their close relationship between the girl and her boyfriend's mother is already very close which causing the girl has been considered as child of their own. Furthermore, by the non verbal, the girl also gave evidence in the form of letters from the doctors who assume to write which it was true that the girl is coming to accompany her mother to having the medical treatment and medical care.

Theoretical Perspective

Interpersonal deception theory is a fraud which based on theoretical views of interpersonal communication.  Therefore, Buller and Burgoon assume that fraud is an interactive procedure among the sender and the receiver. It is different from the deception studies that are only focused to the sender and the receiver by individually. Now, Interpersonal deception theory focuses on the nature of the dyadic communication, relational communication and dialogic communication deceive. The attitudes and behaviours between the recipient and the sender will indicate by the attitude of a dynamic, multifunctional, multidimensional and multimodal. These are the three attitudes and behaviours according to Buller and Burgoon (1998):

Dyadic communication is the way of communication that includes two people. A dyad is two people in a group that used to be whom messages will be sent and who will receive it.

Relational communication is a communication that the meaning was created by two people at the same time in order to fill the roles of the sender and the receiver.

Dialogic activity is more refers to the language of communication activity between the sender and the receiver by relying on each other in the exchange of information. (Buller and Burgoon, 1998)

There is Four Factor Theory which is describing the four processes or factors that influence deceivers' behaviours. The first factor is Attempted Control which refers to deceivers controlling their behaviour in an attempt to conceal their deception. The second factor is Arousal which refers to the autonomic response of the nervous system in the deceiver at the time of the deception. The third factor is The Affective Approach which refers to the emotions of guilt, anxiety, and duping delight that deceivers feel at the time of deception. These negative or unintended effects of deception may influence the deceivers to use no immediate language to disassociate themselves from the guilt induced by the deception. The final factor is Cognitive Factors in Deception which refers to the increased cognitive load deceivers bear when inventing lies.


Basically deception is hoax fraud information. Liars always use the falsification, concealment or equivocation to complete their lie. Fraud is usually done on the basis of motive to deceive. Usually a person who will commit a fraud has at least three goals which are to complete a certain task, to establish or maintain the relationships with the respondents and to save their face or maintain the image of one or both parties.

In people daily life, we are always doing a communication with each other. It is only the way that every individual communicate is different. The language that every individual used was also different in accordance with the objectives to be achieved. That is why sometimes some people think that there is the need to commit fraud. Based on Buller and Burgoon, they assume that the motivation and interpersonal identity fraud inherent in stimulating the "text" over the mark as a less honest communication. Although sometimes the respondents did not know or see any signs of deception, in theory there are four characteristics that reflect the strategic objectives, which are:

Uncertainty and vagueness.

If the girl does not want the lecturer know about the truth that "her mom" who is not the girl biological mother, the girl will probably to keep the answer secretly and shortly.

No immediacy, reticence and withdrawal.

If the lecturer suddenly say that the mother who the girl was accompany and taking care for the medical treatment and medical care is not her biological mother, the girl will probably wish that it is better that she do not tell anything to her friends. The girl might silent to hear the lecturer opinion about her statement.


The girl will give the explanation to the lecturer about the miscommunication and misunderstanding from the word "her mom" that the girl stated. The girl has been treating by her boyfriend's parents like their own daughter, because they have their closed relationship so she is calling his boyfriend's parents as Mom and Dad.

Image and relationship protecting behaviour.

When the people want to do a fraud, they usually will acknowledge the existence of non-verbal leakage which will provide the signs that the words they communicate are lie. Based on Buller and Burgoon, sometimes when people who want and was doing a fraud would have a simple smile to cover their lies and it can be a simple all-purpose strategy.

(Buller and Burgoon, 1996: 203-242)

People who want to know a clear way to separate the truth from the fraud can use through the four strategic signs that will give people the right way to get honesty or a truthful message or information. In the world of communication, it is not easy to use it because almost all communication is done on purpose, goal directed and conscious.

Buller and Burgoon assume that the leakage term is to lead to the unconscious nonverbal cues. Interpersonal Deception Theory explanation of interpersonal deception was depends on the situation in which was the interaction and the relationship happens between the sender and receiver. More than half of the 18 propositions are involving the essential difference between strategic and nonstrategic activities. (Buller and Burgoon, 1996)


According to Burgoon and Buller (1996:203-242) that respondents tend to think of interpersonal messages truthful, complete, direct, relevant, and clear-even when the speaker is lying. So no matter what you might say about the girl is accompanying her mother for the medical treatment and medical care, the lecturer probably will believe the girl. Whatever the reason for the assumption of veracity, Buller and Burgoon are convinced that whatever is said by people close to you, then the respondent would still believe the words despite occasional doubts. The experts of the theory found that whatever is said by people who close to us and that we love, friends and family will be hoping to get the honesty and truth of the spoken words.

Although sometimes a strong truth and valid bias between each other by face to face interaction, people also can doubt our words. The lecturer may also suspicious the doubt of what the girl is saying after hearing from the gossip or news about the reality that the word "her mom" was not actually according to the girl biological mother. A suspicion is an attitude of doubt or distrust towards something not true or in detention without any strong evidence or proof. (Buller and Burgoon, 1996: 203-242)