Deception, trust, and credibility: a Gricean exploration

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University of Alabama Libraries

This research lays out the theoretical foundations and rationale for conducting an experimentally designed study to explore the effects of deception on trust in a negotiation context. Grice (1975) claimed all conversation is governed through an implicit rule known as the cooperative principle. The cooperative principle is satisfied when all the expectations of each conversation partner are met. These expectations include the four maxims of conversation: quantity, quality, relation, and manner. McCornack (1992) later included that intentional violation of the maxims of conversation to mislead another is a deceptive act, which is framed as information manipulation theory (IMT). Through operationalizing the concepts of Grice’s maxims under IMT and deceptive communication, this study relied on an experimental design to measure perceptions of trust, message honesty, and message competency after deception had occurred in a context of negotiation. The findings suggest violations of Grice’s maxims will be perceived as dishonest when the ground truth is known. There was a lack of findings in comparing the violations of Grice’s maxims to perceptions of affective trust. This study also found the use of deception within a negotiation can negatively impact the perceived competency of the deceiver. Not only that, but there is a significant correlation between perceived honesty and perceived competency. Implications to further research and practitioners are discussed.

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