Does exposure to psychosocial adversity enhance deception detection ability?
Number of pages
SourceEvolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 12, 3, (2018), pp. 218-229
Article / Letter to editor
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Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences
People who grow up under stressful conditions tend to score lower on conventional assessments of cognitive abilities. They might, however, develop enhanced mental skills and abilities for solving problems that are more ecologically relevant to them. We present 2 studies examining whether psychosocial adversity (i.e., exposure to neighborhood violence and to harsh parenting) enhances the ability to detect deception. Our results, based on Signal Detection and Bayesian analyses, are mixed. In Study 1, we find no support for our hypothesis that exposure to psychosocial adversity enhances deception detection ability. In Study 2, we do find that only harsher parenting predicts greater accuracy. This evidence is either weak or strong, depending on whether we compare our hypothesis to the null hypothesis or an impairment model, respectively. In both studies, we find no relationship between neighborhood violence and accuracy. Although the implications of our findings are modest, we hope they will encourage future research focused on the skills and abilities of people who develop in harsh environments.
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