When people pause for a few seconds without answering a question, their answers are perceived less sincerely and reliably than those given immediately, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.
The more hesitation, the less sincere the answer.
“Assessing the sincerity of others is an ubiquitous and important part of social interaction,” said Ignazio Ziano, a doctoral student and lead author of Grenoble Ecole de Management. “Our research shows that speed of response is an important sign that people rely on the results of sincerity.”
Research Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Researchers conducted a series of experiments involving more than 7,500 individuals from the United States, Britain and France. Participants either listened to the audio clip, watched the video, or read the account of a person who answered a simple question (for example, they liked a cake made by a friend or stole money from work). In each scenario, the response time changed immediately to a 10-second delay. Participants then assessed the sincerity of the reaction on a sliding scale.
In all 14 experiments, participants rated the delayed responses as less sincere, regardless of whether the cake was harmless or a more serious question related to the offense.
The researchers found that several conditions reduced this effect. For example, if a friend was asked if he liked your cake and said, “No, I don’t like it,” the answer was socially undesirable, but the speed of response was not so important; The response was considered sincere, whether fast or slow. Researchers have found that if people think a slower response is related to mental effort (for example, if you have to think you stole candy 10 years ago), the response rate has a smaller effect.
According to Ziano, the findings have a wide impact. “People value each other’s sincerity whenever they interact. These results can be applied to a wide range of interactions, from workplace conversations to couples and friends. ” “In addition, people are often given sentences of sincerity in business meetings and court hearings and trials. Here, too, the speed of response may play a role. ”
“Our results show that in this situation, the hiring manager is more likely to trust Ann than Barb, and therefore more likely to hire Ann,” he said. “In general, when there is an answer that requires an answer, as in a business meeting, delayed responses can be taken less sincerely.”
Another area where response time may be important is the jury’s reaction to court statements.
Ziano said, “It would be unfair for the defendant if the delay in response was actually related to the suppression of the thought or the suppression of the thought or the preparation of a response when another factor caused it.”
The latest experiment found that participants were clearly instructed not to ignore the delayed response, and that the effect of the delayed response on sincerity or guilt was reduced, but not completely eliminated.
“Nevertheless, our research shows that a quick response is generally perceived as more sincere, and even a delayed response of a few seconds can be considered a slow lie,” Ziano said.
Reference: “Slow Lies: Response Delays Promote Perceptions of Insincerity” Ignazio Ziano, PhD, Grenoble Ecole de Management, and Deming Wang, PhD, James Cook University, 16 February 2021, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
DOI: 10.1037 / pspa0000250