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The Analysis of Gender-Specific Peculiarities of Insincerity

Lykova Ol'ga

senior lecturer of the Department of Foreign Languages at National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute)

115409, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Kashirskoe Shosse, 31

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The subject of the study is gender characteristics of insincere statements and behavior. The experimental material includes 100 video fragments in Russian and 100 video fragments in American English. The study of this material included perceptual-auditory and perceptual-visual types of analysis, which were conducted with the involvement of groups of test-auditors. The results of perceptual-auditory and perceptual-visual types of analysis revealed some gender differences in insincere statements and behavior. However, most of the parameter values noted by the subjects when working with the material are in the zone of average values, which makes the study of these parameters especially difficult and indicates the relevance of this problem. Processing such a data set (915,600 cells) was carried out for the first time, but it did not reveal major gender differences in the speech and behavior of communicants, which indicates the need for further study of this problem.

Keywords: perceptual-visual analysis, perceptual-auditory analysis, insincerity, lie detection, deception detection, deception, lies, paralinguistics, speech analysis, voice analysis


According to many scientists, men and women tend to use different types of insincerity.

In his study, R. Feldman [4, p. 169] argues that men are more prone to self-oriented lies than women. The number of their self-oriented lies is especially high in a competitive situation.

The study by B. DePaulo [2] allows us to conclude that men and women make statements containing the factor of insincerity with approximately the same frequency, however there are some differences in their manner. In particular, the use of insincere statements by men who do not have higher education, is more self-oriented than women who also have not received higher education. In this case, women tend to be verbally insincere to support another person.

Thus, the work of these scientists leads to the conclusion that men tend to be insincere in describing their achievements and they also conceal any facts that they consider to be their mistakes or shortcomings. In this case, women are not characterized by self-oriented kind of insincerity. This may be due to the fact that in many cultures, men traditionally have a greater number of requirements for career growth, financial position, social status, etc. In case of a failure to fulfill such requirements, men resort to self-oriented use of statements containing the factor of insincerity.

Studies by some scholars describe the presence of gender-specific features in the use of insincere statements, depending on the communicative goal of the speaker. Thus, in the study of R. Feldman [4, p. 164], the subjects underwent three stages of the test, each of which required them to please the interlocutor (likeable condition), compete with the interlocutor (competent condition) and get acquainted with the interlocutor (control condition). Communicators' false statements were divided into five categories: lies about their feelings, achievements, plans, lies with explanations, and deliberate distortion of facts. Based on the analysis of these diagrams, we can conclude that men tend to be insincere in their speech, first of all, while talking about their feelings when they want to make a favorable impression on their interlocutor. They also often hide factual information and information about their achievements or their absence in order to please the other party. At the same time, they are quite sincere when they explain their point of view or talk about future plans, since they do not have to rely on facts and they can build their monologue, without touching on topics that are inconvenient for them.

It is important to note that women are also inclined to be insincere in their speech, describing their emotions and factual information in order to make a favorable impression on the interlocutor, but less often than men [Ibid.]. They tend to use insincere statements when talking about their future plans, however, they do not consider it necessary to be insincere when describing their achievements and explaining anything, perhaps believing that excessive praise of their achievements may hurt the other person.

In a situation of competition [Ibid.], the realization of insincere utterances is more frequent. Men rarely distort facts, however, they are insincere when speaking about their achievements, feelings and plans, considering them to be the most important aspects in a competitive situation. When competing, women first of all mislead their interlocutors talking about their feelings, considering the emotional side of life to be the most important variable for comparing their lives with the lives of other people. They are also quite often insincere, speaking of their achievements and plans, but to a lesser extent than men.

In a situation of everyday conversation [Ibid.], both men and women are more often sincere. For men, factual information, feelings and accomplishments remain important aspects; while describing them they resort to the use of insincere statements. Women, on the contrary, lie first and foremost about their feelings, but the frequency with which they use insincere statements is close to zero. This can be explained by the fact that women are more cautious and they do not tend to share a large amount of information with the interlocutor, both truthful and false.

Some gender-specific features depending on the communication partner were also studied by Feldman [4, p. 169]. While direct lie is characteristic of men when communicating with people of both sexes, women tend to resort to indirect lies when communicating with men, and to direct when communicating with women. Exaggeration is also actively used by both sexes while producing insincere statements. At the same time, the greatest number of exaggerations is observed when women communicate, and the least in the dialogues of men. This may be due to the fact that often women are more emotional when talking.

Studies of gender-specific deception detection peculiarities were conducted by many scholars, however they have some differences. Some works show that women are better at verifying lies of their partners [8]. This can be explained by their high ability to interpret nonverbal behavior, including facial expressions. Also, women better cope with the “reading of thoughts” of the interlocutor, they better understand what the interlocutor thinks about [21]. Women also lay greater importance to the non-verbal parameters of behavior and speech of the interlocutor when making decisions [5, p. 21], however, when dealing with strangers, men are more perspicacious, according to the research [3]. Men are also more aware of the goals of their lies, their deception is more situational [23]. Differences in the perception of the interlocutor's facial expressions may be due to different areas of the brain of men and women involved in this process [1, p. 22]. It is also important to note that there are studies proving the absence of differences in the verification of deception by men and women [6].

Summarizing the opinions of researchers about gender-specific features of lies, the following differences can be stated: 1. False statements of male communicants are more self-oriented. 2. Female communicators are more prone to exaggeration. 3. There are differences in the use of insincere utterances by both sexes depending on the partner and the purpose of communication, as well as the orientation of the lie (direct / indirect) 4. Female communicators are better at verifying lies. In this study we are going to try to identify any other gender-specific features of lies through conducting perceptual-auditory and perceptual-visual types of analysis.

Materials and methods


The database consisted of 100 video fragments in Russian and 100 video fragments in American English. Each of the fragments was cut from a Russian or American film / television series. For the study of gender-specific differences in lies an equal number of speech fragments by women and men were included in the database i.e. 50 speech fragments by women and 50 speech fragments by men for each language. For the analysis, only the fragments lasting from 2 to 5 seconds were selected. The factor of insincerity in these fragments is established - it becomes apparent during the development of the plot of the film i.e. samples do not include fragments for which it seems impossible to judge with certainty upon the sincerity of the communicants.

Selection of experimental material included several stages. At the first stage the corpus of audiovisual materials was formed, consisting of 10 films and 10 series in two analysed languages. The preferred genres in the selection of material were drama, thriller and detective, since they often contain the factor of insincerity. The total duration of the corpus was 310 hours and 46 minutes. When analysing the material, it was decided to remove some of the most famous films and TV series from the sample, so the duration of the final audiovisual corpus became 222 hours and 36 minutes. In order to obtain undistorted results only the works in original were considered.

At the second stage, the segmentation of film fragments was implemented to obtain short (2–5 sec.) video fragments. The main criterion for the selection of fragments s was the factor o of insincerity in the statements of communicants in their native language. The topics of the selected materials included personal conversations, interrogations, interviews, monologues, dialogues and polylogs, and other types of speech activity containing the factor of insincerity.

The following software was used to segment video clips: VLC media player, OBS Studio and Sony Vegas Pro 13.0.

At the third stage, the relevance of the selected video fragments was evaluated which led to the rejection of non-compliant fragments and the formation of the final database.


The participants of the experimental research were students of the Moscow State Linguistic University at the age of 18-24. The overall number of people taking part in perceptual-auditory and perceptual-visual types of analysis was 42.

The following requirements were made to the participants of the experiment:

• Only native speakers of the Russian language were allowed to participate in the experiment

• The required level of English was not lower than Upper-Intermediate

• Microsoft Office (MS Excel) proficiency is required

To obtain the necessary information about the participants, the latter were asked to fill in the appropriate questionnaire.


The method of perceptual-auditory and perceptual-visual types of analysis is based on the works of the founder of the scientific school of fundamental and applied speech science, R.K. Potapova [9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20; Potapova, Potapov 12, 14, 16, 17, 19]. The methodology of perceptual-auditory analysis was also applied in the research by L. Komalova [7] supervised by R. Potapova.

The analysis consists of conducting a series of perceptual-auditory and perceptual-visual experiments on authentic multilingual material with the involvement of groups of test-auditors.

At the first and second stages of the research (perceptual-auditory and perceptual-visual analysis), subjects were asked to answer questions from special questionnaires, which had also developed by R.Potapova, while listening to and watching the fragments. The questionnaires were presented in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The participants were to mark cells according to their answers.

At the last stage of the research the obtained data were analysed and interpreted. The total volume of the analyzed questionnaire cells was 915,600 cells (42 subjects * 200 video sequences * 109 response options to 24 questionnaire questions). The obtained volume of the analysed cells excludes the possibility of carrying out calculations manually, therefore all calculations, as well as the ranking of features by their frequency were performed using the program, which had been designed specifically for this task.

This method allows to obtain, analyze and interpret a large amount of data in order to identify trends, patterns, differences and changes in the subject of the study.


The results of perceptual-auditory analysis showed only a small difference in the speech of insincere male and female communicants. Both groups are characterized by either a smooth or an intermittent melodic pattern; frequent pauses; a high-pitched voice; a fast speech rate and an uneven speech rhythm. However, these features differ in frequency, for example, the frequency of women's high-pitched voice while pronouncing lies is higher, while men tend to produce false statements filled with empty pauses more often. It should also be noted that women often use soft voice while lying. A high-pitched voice may be caused by the tension of the vocal cords and the psychophysical stress, and the softness of the voice when uttering insincere statements may indicate attempts to gain confidence and manipulate.

However, it should be noted that most of the perceptual-auditory analysis parameters have medium scale values, therefore, the task of identifying indicators of insincerity in voice is complicated.

The results of perceptual-visual analysis on this material show that there are differences in non-verbal features accompanying the realisation of insincere statements by men and women. Both sexes are characterized by the frequent facial expression of sadness while producing statements containing the factor of insincerity. The other frequent feature pointed out by the participants of the experiment was "tears in the eyes" for both groups of communicants, although it is still more typical of insincere female communicators. Besides, the participants also marked the option of "lip corners being low" very fequently when analysing the behaviour of insincere female communicants, which indicates a suppressed emotion of sadness.

Moreover, communicators of both groups tend to influence their interlocutors. Both men and women use a smile to hide true emotions. They also mimic surprise by raising their eyebrows, which allows them to hide emotions, draw time, and convince the communication partner of their innocence.

Insincere communicators realize that the mouth is the primary source of information leaks across all three channels — verbal, paraverbal, and non-verbal. This makes it the most important area for control while producing insincere statements. Insincere communicants of both sexes shield their mouth with a hand in the state of insincerity, however the insincere female communicants use a wider range of means to cover this zone - nose touching, nose rubbing, lips biting and shielding the mouth with the hand. Such diversity makes the intention to deceive less noticeable for a communication partner.

Besides, insincere male communicants pay great attention to their eyes when producing an insincere statement. While women use different eyes expressions only to demonstrate their feelings (surprise, contempt), men tend to interrupt eye contact with a communication partner when producing insincere statements, believing that eyes expression can give out their true thoughts, emotions and intentions. Thus, insincere male communicators tend to blink, squint and look away.


Thus, we can see that the difference in speech and behaviour of both sexes while lying is quite small, so it is extremely difficult to highlight any major trends. Besides, most of the obtained numbers on scales, which had been marked by the participants, lie just in the middle between the upper and the lower limits of the scales, which makes deception detection even less tangible. However, a few minor peculiarities were described, which allows to consider them in further research. Although the sample size was not small, we still tend to believe that a larger sample could allow to obtain general trends in speech and behavoiur of both groups in a more accurate way. In our opinion, when analysing gender-specific peculiarities of lies, it is also necessary to compare the speech of the subjects in a state of psychophysical stress with their speech in a relaxed state, taking into account paraverbal, nonverbal and verbal indicators of insincerity which can be different for both sexes. Thus, further research could benefit from the analysis of verbal indicators of deception.

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