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Date of Award

1991

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Randall Koper

First Committee Member

Jon F. Schamber

Second Committee Member

Linda L. Nolan

Third Committee Member

Kent R. Colbert

Abstract

This study hypothesizes a greater ability by blind subjects in detecting deceptive communication from an audio channel only. Accuracy and confidence levels for the blind were compared with normally sighted undergraduate students' results. All subjects were requested to indicate their perception on several audible cues, including: speech errors, pauses, vocal segregates, response duration, vocal certainty, vocal tension, vocal pleasantness, speaking volume and rate. Subjects also indicated whether they thought the messages on the stimulus tapes were deceptive or truthful.

Stimulus tapes containing deceptive statements were created by inducing a cheating incident. Undergraduate students in a lower-level communication course participated in a dot estimation task where they either performed on their own abilities or cheated with a confederate. Interviews immediately following the procedure resulted in deceptive responses from all subjects induced into cheating.

A discussion of cheating as a methodology is presented in the final chapter.

Results from this study indicate that blind participants tended to be more accurate at detecting deceptive communication than sighted subjects. Although vocal cues were rated similarly by both groups, the greater detection accuracy by the blind suggests sensory compensation may occur as a result of blindness. The final chapter suggests that with better measurement of audible cues used by the blind, future research may discover much about the importance of these deceptive cues.

Pages

81

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