The Effect of Autistic Behaviors on Evaluations of Deception and Credibility in Everyday Social Situations

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Abstract

Behaviors such as gaze aversion and repetitive movements are commonly believed to be signs of deception and low credibility; however, they may also be characteristic of individuals with developmental or mental health conditions. We examined the effect of five behaviors that are common among autistic individuals—gaze aversion, repetitive movements, misinterpretation of figurative language, monologues, and flat affect—on observers' evaluations of deception and credibility. This study focused on judgments made in everyday social situations which contrasts with most previous studies which have examined such judgments in contexts (e.g., legal proceedings) where they are of primary importance. In three experiments, we presented participants with video segments of individuals being interviewed about biographical information and participants then indicated their perception of the individuals' truthfulness and credibility. Overall, individuals were perceived as more deceptive and less credible when they displayed autistic behaviors than when they did not; however, the effect sizes detected were weak.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-560
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume36
Issue number3
Early online date4 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords

  • deception
  • credibility
  • interpersonal judgments
  • behavioral cues
  • austism
  • autism

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