Thursday, August 18, 2016

Veils, headscarves may improve observers' ability to judge truthfulness, study finds

Public Release: 28-Jun-2016
Veils, headscarves may improve observers' ability to judge truthfulness, study finds
May compel greater attention to more revealing cues
American Psychological Association

Contrary to the opinions of some courts, it is easier to determine the truthfulness of a woman wearing a headscarf or even a veil that leaves only her eyes exposed than a woman wearing no head covering at all, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

"The presence of a veil may compel observers to pay attention to more 'diagnostic' cues, such as listening for verbal indicators of deception," said Amy-May Leach, PhD, of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The study was published in the APA journal Law and Human Behavior.


In the study, believed to be the first to look into the effects of religious garments on lie detection, researchers conducted two experiments with a total of 523 participants. They examined participants' lie detection accuracy, response biases and decision strategies when evaluating the testimony of eyewitnesses in three veiling conditions: women wearing a niqab, which covers everything but the eyes; women wearing a hijab, which covers only the head and neck; and those wearing no veil.


"Contrary to the assumptions underlying the court decisions cited earlier, lie detection was not hampered by veiling across two studies." the researchers wrote. "In fact, observers were more accurate at detecting deception in witnesses who wore niqabs or hijabs than those who did not veil. Discrimination between lie- and truth-tellers was no better than guessing in the latter group, replicating previous findings."

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