Conversational Transcripts of Truthful and Deceptive Speech Involving Controversial Topics, Central California, 2012 (ICPSR 37124)

Version Date: Aug 29, 2018 View help for published

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Nicholas Duran, Arizona State University; Alexandra Paxton, University of California, Berkeley; Riccardo Fusaroli, Aarhus Universitet

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This study investigated the presence of dynamic patterns of interpersonal coordination in extended deceptive conversations across multi-modal channels of behavior. Using a "devil's advocate" paradigm, the researchers experimentally elicited deception and truth across controversial social and political topics in which conversational partners either agreed or disagreed, and where one partner was surreptitiously asked to argue an opinion opposite of what he or she really believed. The researchers focused on interpersonal coordination as an emergent behavioral signal that captured inter-dependencies between conversational partners, both as the coupling of head movements over the span of milliseconds, measured via a windowed lagged cross correlation (WLCC) technique, and more global temporal dependencies across speech rate, using cross recurrence quantification analysis (CRQA). Another focus that was considered was how interpersonal coordination might be shaped by strategic, adaptive conversational goals associated with deception.

This collection includes both qualitative transcripts and a quantitative dataset including respondent demographics (including sex, age, and ethnicity). The qualitative dataset consists of 94 written transcripts of audio-recorded conversations, lasting eight minutes each in length. The quantitative dataset includes 5 variables for 102 cases.

Duran, Nicholas, Paxton, Alexandra, and Fusaroli, Riccardo. Conversational Transcripts of Truthful and Deceptive Speech Involving Controversial Topics, Central California, 2012. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-08-29.

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National Science Foundation (BCS-0826825, BCS-0926670, SBE-1103356), Aarhus University Interacting Minds Centre


Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reason for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2012-05 -- 2012-11
2012-05 -- 2012-11
  1. Qualitative transcript data (DS 1) are included as part of this collection. No changes were made to these files except masking names and locations in six transcript files to protect respondent confidentiality and prevent disclosure. With this exception, the files are being released as they were received from the principal investigators.


The researchers posited that contextual and partner-specific factors are of particular importance in shaping how deceivers behave and that little empirical research has been done on whether deceptive and conflictual interactions might also involve and modulate behavioral coordination. The goal of this research was to bridge this gap by systematically investigating interpersonal behavioral coordination within naturalistic open-ended deceptive and truthful conversations.

Pairs of participants (at least 18 years of age) were brought into a private room within a laboratory setting and, before meeting one another, were asked to complete a survey about socio-political topics that were controversial during May to November 2012 (e.g., abortion, legalization of marijuana, gay and lesbian marriage). The survey asked participants to write their opinion briefly in their own words and to indicate how strongly they held those opinions. Responses to these opinion questions formed the basis of the conversation prompts throughout the experiment. Each dyad was asked to converse for two separate conversations, with each conversation prompt revealed immediately before the conversation began. Each conversation was designed to elicit either agreeing or disagreeing with each other (as a randomly assigned between-dyads condition) about the topic at hand. Critically, one of these conversations involved deception (a participant was randomly assigned to play a "devil's advocate" role unbeknownst to the other participant), and the other truth, with order of conversations counterbalanced across dyads (as a within-dyad condition).

Data Preparation: Using a speech analysis computer program called Praat (Boersma and Weenick, 2014), a team of 5 undergraduate research assistants manually segmented the continuous speech stream of each participant into start and stop boundaries corresponding to a participant's speech turn. A speech turn was understood to begin when one partner took up the conversational floor and ended when that participant relinquished it to his or her conversational partner. Once segmentation was complete, a member of the research team directly transcribed exactly what was heard into each boundary-marked region. The quality and accuracy of each transcription were checked by a second member of the research team.

Participants were recruited through a university's recruitment website over the course of 6 months, from May to November 2012. Participants were randomly assigned to all conditions. A total of 116 participants were recruited and participated in the experimental study. However, 22 participants had to be discarded from the dataset due to technical problems (e.g. poor or absent audio) or instructions not being followed (e.g. openly revealing the deceptive stance).


Persons aged 18 and over attending a public university in central California.


The variables included in the quantitative dataset (DS 2) include:

  • DYAD: Unique ID number for dyad pair
  • PARTICIPANT: Indicate's whether the participant was assigned to the role of "deceiver"
  • AGE: Participant's age in years
  • SEX: Participant's sex (Male or Female)
  • ETHNICITY: Participant's ethnicity (self-reported)



2018-08-29 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.