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A Research Model on the Attribution of Veracity

Baskett, Glen D.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute of Mental Health, Credibility, Decision Making, Models, Prevarication


This paper outlines a model to guide our understanding of the phenomenon of judging another person's veracity. A schematic representation of the model is presented, which concerns the judgments of veracity made by person Y concerning the personality and other information about person X. The model consists of a branching process (which may correspond to the series of decisions that have to be made by person Y). Each branch is to be considered as a factor leading to the acceptance or rejection of the information, and each branch is modified by each of the preceding branches. The first choice point asks who is the person providing the information about X (X himself or someone else). If it is someone else the next choice point asks the creditability of the source. The second choice point asks whether or not Y has any knowledge about X which might be relevant. The third choice point asks if the incoming information is consistent with Y's knowledge of X. The last choice point considers other factors such as speed of responding to direct questioning, voice timbre, emphasis, etc. The model provides a brief summary of the possible factors which might influence the subjective probability of belief. Available data relevant to the model and suggestions for new experiments to test the model's predictions are also presented.

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