Lying and deception

Andrew J Ortony, Swati Gupta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Standard approaches to analyzing what goes on when a speaker lies or engages in some other form of (intentional) verbal deception start with the idea that the speaker wants the addressee (hearer) to believe as true a proposition that the speaker believes is false. In this chapter, it is argued that in fact this is not usually the speaker's primary motivation. Rather, in most cases, the underlying psychological motivation is to prevent the hearer from believing something the speaker believes to be true. Establishing or perpetuating a supposedly false belief or dismantling a true belief in the hearer is actually a communicative subgoal that a deceptive speaker establishes in the service of the underlying goal of preventing the addressee’s access to the truth. The relation between the various goals involved in lying and deception and some of the strategies that speakers use to attain them are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Lying
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780198736578
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Beliefs
  • Communicative goals
  • Prevention
  • Psychological goals
  • Speaker goals
  • Speaker motivation
  • Strategies of deception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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