Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Myria W. Allen


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between conversational sensitivity and employment interview experience to deception detection in employment interviews. Controversial sensitivity refers to one's ability to detect and decode the verbal, paralinguistic, and nonverbal cues that occur in conversations. Two research questions were asked: (1) Is conversational sensitivity related to deception detection in employment interviews? (2) Is employment interview experience related to deception detection in employment interviews? A sample of 230 subjects (150 students and 80 professionals) participated in the study, which had two phases. In phase one, subjects completed the Conversational Sensitivity Scale, a 36-item, Likert-like measure that examines eight dimensions of conversational sensitivity. In phase two, the subjects viewed a videotape of two simulated employment interviews in which the interviewees (one male, one female) responded with a mixture of truthful and deceptive statements. While they watched the interviews, they judged the veracity of the statements. The number of statements that they judged correctly was the dependent variable (accuracy) in the study. The two independent variables were subject's score on the Conversational Sensitivity Scale (conversational sensitivity) and the number of employment interviews the subjects conducted in one year (employment interview experience). Data was analyzed using Pearson's r, t-tests, chi-square, and multiple regression analysis. Results of the study indicated that conversational sensitivity was not related to overall deception detection. However, when the deception was categorized as either spontaneous or rehearsed deception, there was a positive correlation with the females' ability to detect spontaneous lies. Conversational alternatives was positively correlated with females' ability to detect truthful statements, and detecting meanings was positively correlated with the females' ability to detect truthful statements and spontaneous deception. Employment interview experience was negatively correlated with deception detection. Males were significantly more accurate than females at detecting deception, and students were significantly more accurate at deception detection than professionals. Finally, males and females use different cues in their veracity judgments.