Deception: Strategic and Nonstrategic Communication
David B. Buller
Judee K. Burgoon
University of Arizona
At the heart of the strategic communication perspective is the assumption that people control the information they present in their messages ( Turner, Edgley , & Olmstead, 1975). When managing impressions, negotiating conversations, comforting others, gaining compliance, expressing affinity, adapting to another culture, responding to others, resolving conflict, and seeking additional information from others, people must consider what types, how much, and in what order information is communicated.
An important consideration in this information-transmittal process is whether to send information that is entirely honest or to modify it in some way that departs from the truth as the source knows it. Society and most conversations rest on an assumption of veracity in information exchange. That is, the information presented in a message and its intended meaning are assumed to be truthful ( Goffman, 1959; Knapp & Comadena, 1979). In actual practice, though, communicators frequently decide that honesty is not the best strategy. Instead, they conclude that some measure of dishonesty will best achieve their desired communication outcomes. Many people, therefore, find the ability to successfully deceive others an indispensible strategy for acquiring goods and services, developing and managing satisfying social relationships, and creating and managing a desired image ( Ekman, 1985; Turner et al., 1975; Wolk & Henley, 1970; Zuckerman, DePaulo, & Rosenthal, 1981). Knapp, Hart, and Dennis ( 1974) explained: