The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication

By William R. Cupach; Brian H. Spitzberg | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 8
DECEPTION

H. Dan O'Hair Texas Tech University Michael J. Cody University of Southern California

An open society living by a rhetoric of deception cannot long endure.

-- Wayne Booth, 1974

Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit.

-- Psalms 34, 13

One thing I want to tell you now and you can be sure of it. As your president, I will never tell you a lie.

-- Jimmy Carter, 1976 presidential campaign

Deception is a message strategy much like other forms of communication in that it is purposeful, often goal directed, and frequently functions as a relational control device. Deceptive messages are distinct as communication strategies because they serve to produce the very results most communicators attempt to avoid: false impressions and erroneous assumptions. A chapter devoted to deception in a volume exploring the dark side of interpersonal communication presents a number of opportunities, not the least of which is a chance to proselytize about our personal views. In spite of the moralistic implications of the dark side label, we focused our efforts on a variety of research programs to provide a broad picture of deception as an interpersonal communication strategy.

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