How to tell when your boss is lying

The Economist reports on a new study from Stanford University, which analysed nearly transcripts of nearly 30,000 conference calls by US chief executives and chief financial officers between 2003 and 2007. The results were published in a paper called “Detecting Deceptive Discussions in Conference Calls”.

So what are the giveaways that the boss is fibbing? They apparently use fewer “non-extreme positive emotion words” – so they call something fantastic rather than plain old good, in an effort to sound persuasive. Also, the lying bosses avoid the word “I” and talk in the third person, and swear more frequently than the honest bosses!


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