A Model of Trust Manipulation: Exploiting Communication Mechanisms and Authenticity Cues to Deceive

Emma Williams, Kate Muir

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

2 Citations (SciVal)


A crucial factor when successfully deceiving others is to instill trust in the receiver that the proposed scenario and communication is genuine. People have been suggested to have a truth bias when evaluating incoming communications (see Truth Default Theory; Levine, 2014), which means that they are more likely to consider information that they encounter in the environment to be genuine rather than false. This process is influenced by a range of factors, many of which are exploited by deceivers, such as building effective rapport with a target and ensuring that communications appear as ‘authentic’ as possible (Buller & Burgoon, 1996; Sillence, Briggs, Fishwick & Harris, 2004; Stajano & Wilson, 2011). In this way, deceivers are able to manipulate established norms and trust mechanisms to aid in their deception.The proposed chapter will explore the different ways in which trust is manipulated by deceivers, using a range of communication examples to explore this topic, before bringing these factors together into a preliminary model. Firstly, we will explore the definition of trust, its role in deception, and how it is established and maintained during communication. We will then move on to examine trust in relation to deceptive communications specifically, primarily how trust is communicated by individuals and the signals and symbols of trust that are used to influence receivers, such as liking and disclosure, uncertainty reduction, and other linguistic aspects. Finally, we will explore the use of authenticity cues in deceptive messages to instill trust, examining how these cues are used in a range of scams across both offline and online environments. Following this analysis, we will present a preliminary Truth Manipulation Model, which brings all of these factors together to explore how rapport and authenticity are used to invoke trust in order to effectively deceive others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication
EditorsTony Docan-Morgan
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-96334-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-96333-4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019


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