Looking At Deception In Romantic Relationships English Language Essay

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Human beings deal with deception on a regular basis and it is highly doubtful we will never escape it. We dont like others to deceive us because then we perceive them as untrustworthy, but yet we are dishonest with others on numerous accounts. The most common known lie that an excessive amount of people tell everyday is, "Im fine." When someone is asked the question "How are you?" the most common response is "Im fine." It is confusing why people more often lie than tell the truth. Deception occurs a lot in our daily lives and especially in romantic and personal relationships. Deception ranges from low to high stakes. Meaning consequences of lying for them can be very minimal or can be crucial. In this essay my objective is to identify the specific ways in which couples deceive on another and how to be able to detect deception. Deception in intimate relationships deal with the factors of facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures,and pitch of the deceivers voice. Deception is tricky to detect and the majority of the time the liars actions will speak louder than his or her words.

Facial Expressions

Does this dress make my behind look big? Or, do I look fat in these pants? We have all heard these questions before and do you recall your answer to them? Maybe when asked you turned away, breaking eye contact, and when you said, "Uhm no, I don't know WHAT you're talking about, you look great, really," the pitch of your voice skyrocketed just a little bit. When engaging in a romantic relationship each individual spends a lot of time with the other one. Once the couple becomes glued together they start to realize one another certain behaviors and reactions in daily life. Dealing with deception in a romantic relationship can be challenging because there is a mind set of knowing the person front to back and you would never dream of them lying too because you are wanting to believe everything he or she has to say.

Detecting deception is very difficult and paying attention to his or her facial expressions will be the golden ticket. When a individual lies his or her actions will speak inevitably louder than his or her words. The more specific facial expressions can be broken down into two principle sources of facial leakage of repressed affective expressions: subtle expressions and micro-expressions (Warren, Schertler, and Bill 2008). Therefore, when an individual lies to their partner about the dress making her look slim, his or her brow could raise ever so slightly, indicating a small hint of deception. Warren et al.'s research supports the work of similar deception studies (Ekman and Friesen 1969) hypothesizing that the body and voice are crucially important to facial expressions in detecting deception (Warren et al., 2008, p.60).

Eye Contact

Another significant facial expression to pay close attention to is eye contact. In this particular study done by Mann, Vrij, and Bull (2002) they videotaped 16 suspects during their police interview. Now they found little if any difference in eye contact between deception and the truth tellers. However, large individual differences were present (Mann et al., 2002, p. 365). Support from other studies (Akehurst, Kohnken, Vrij, and Bull, 1996; Vrij and Mann 2001; Vrij and Semin, 1996) stated, "when asked what behaviors to look for in a liar, most people, often including professional lie detectors such as police and customs officers will reply, 'avoiding eye contact with the target and an increase in nervous fidgety movements'." (p.365) It makes sense that a liar would avoid eye contact at all costs because they are knowledgeable of the lie itself and because they are afraid of being caught. Eye contact in deception is important in romantic relationships obviously because lack of it in conversations will increase on of the partner's suspicions, bringing trouble to paradise.

Hand Gestures

In researching hand gestures for typical deception, I cam across an article focusing on a certain type of hand gesture called: Illustrators. In this research of hand gestures Caso, Maricchiolo, Bonaiuto, Vrij, and Mann (2006) stated that Illustrators ( i.e, hand gestures that modify and/ or supplement what is being said verbally) tend to decrease when a person is lying. Illustrators come into play big time in romantic relationships when the liar in a situation neglects body language. Also it might be an attempt to control behavior if the liar is knowledgeable of detecting deception habits (Caso et al., 2006, p.2).

Such a liar will make "a credible impression and will try to avoid displaying behaviors, including certain movements, which they believe will appear suspicious (Caso et al., 2006, p.2). Overall the liar will always try harder to make his or her statement more convincing. On the other hand, I have experienced my significant other frequently jittery and waving his arms around in a way to prove his dishonest point. But this behavior is also suspicious and easy to pick up on if you pay close attention to his or her nonverbal channels. When you're involved or committed with someone in a romantic relationship the couple will come across issues involving deception. And that's because at least one of the individual's in the couple will wonder if they have been lied to by them. Usually we wonder such things because of experiences in past relationships, romantic or personal ones. Deception is part of human life and specific hand gestures like illustrators can help detect if an individual's significant other has been deceiving them.


In telling the truth people usually have no trouble at all recalling what happened. Their story will pan out just fine. But when someone is trying to be deceptive when explaining what happened to the the dented car door, the vocalic begin to fluster. This creates the individual's voice pitch to raise up and down. This then creates suspicions for the individual being lied too. For example, they will wonder why this person's voice is skyrocketing up, down and basically all over the place. More often than not, the liar will hardly even realize he or she is per taking in vocalic changes. With vocal changes in deception it will not be hard to hear a change of pitch, but you must put the specifics into context and not just make judgment off of something too simply or hazy. The "liar" could be a changing adolescent and growing older and their voice so happens to bounce back and forth once in a while. As humans we are more attracted to others who have soft, warmth, intelligent tones of voice. We can also associate these characteristics with whether or not how convincing his or her statement will be by the sound or let's say attractiveness of voice. Being more attracted to that person will lead you to believe them. This plays a major part in romantic relationships because each individual is attracted to the other making it easier to believe every word he or she will say. Sometimes people do think their significant other would never lie to them and never will creating a tendency where that person will then end up always believing every lick the liar says. If there are any suspicions with in the romantic relationship listen for flubs ( or little mess ups the liar will happen to make). Salem (2007) gives tips on how to catch a liar in the act. According to his research, "a moment of distortion in vocal tone can betray a lie. Listen for long mid sentence pauses (as he or she tries to invent a story), a staccato burst of words, or a sudden warble, or rise or drop in pitch, caused by the trouble they will have breathing normally when his or her nerves are in overdrive" (Salem, 2007). Other tips Salem gives to detect deception in a romantic relationship are to follow his or her gaze, ask for details, read lips, and lastly locate his or her hands.

Deception is an act of untruthfulness and is used by undoubtedly everyone on this planet. Some individuals are knowledgeable of the fact that he or she is portraying lies to others. One the other hand people might not recognize when they are answering the question"How are you?" and their response is "I'm fine," when they really are not, that is in fact considered deception. Lying is intentional and is used to deceive and/or trick the individual to whom the liar is directing the lie too. Within romantic relationships one must be aware of that fact that people will deceive, it is human nature. Some ways to detect deception are to focus in on the liar's facial expressions, including eye contact, the liar's hand gestures; specifically illustrators which are decreased during deception. And lastly pay close attention to the liar's pitch of voice. His or her vocalic will raise up and down creating various pitches when he or she begins to lie and they have that feeling you are not believing them. Remember that actions do speak louder than words.