Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lie Detection and Attachment Anxiety

According to a recent study, people who are worried about being lied to have good bullshit detectors:
Across a pair of initial studies, dozens of men and women answered questions about their attachment style before watching video clips of two women chatting or one person telling a story. In some of the conversational clips, one of the women told a lie, a fact that could be detected through a subtle objective clue in the clip. In the story clips, the events described either happened to the story-teller or were fabricated (there no were objective clues in these clips).

People who scored high in attachment anxiety (for example, they agreed with statements like "I worry about being abandoned" and "My desire to be very close sometimes scares people away") tended to be better at spotting lies and made-up stories. This wasn't just because they were simply more liberal at labelling utterances as lies. Also, the lie detection link with attachment anxiety was specific. General state and trait anxiety did not correlate with lie detection skills. "It appears that anxiety from separation and abandonment, which relates to hyper-activation of an innate psychobiological system  (i.e. the attachment system) that promotes survival, is what is driving people's ability to detect deceit," the researchers said, "and not an overall sense of tension."

To see if the lie-detection skills associated with anxious attachment have any benefit in real life, Ein-Dor and Perry recruited 35 semi-professional poker players, assessed their attachment style and then observed their performance in a local poker tournament. Each participant was allocated at random to join in with a group of seven other players at the event. As they predicted, the researchers found that the participants who scored higher in anxious attachment tended to win more money in the tournament (on average, a one-point higher score in anxious attachment was associated with winning an extra 448 chips). Social anxiety did not have this association with tournament success.
I would say that previous experience makes me somewhat distrustful of what folks tell me.  I don't know if that qualifies as attachment anxiety, but I know I'm not very good at poker.  One of the reasons for that is that I'm not very patient, especially playing cards.  Also, one time I was playing cards, a guy I generally believe to be full of shit kept staying up, and I assumed he had to be bluffing.  Every time I called him, he had the cards.  As soon as he cleared me out of the game, he quit getting the cards.  While I might not be good at cards, it takes me just about one minute to believe some crook is running a scam.  I think it is just the too good to be true nature of the presentation.  I have a hard time understanding how other people fall for those schemes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment