They proposed the need for a deception theory that could offer some explanation on how deceivers and detectors interact with each other during deception, how deceivers strategically lie, how deceivers and detectors mutually affect each other’s strategies, and how the situation further shapes the deception exchange (Griffin, 2009, p.99). They called this theory the Interpersonal Deception Theory (IDT), which they developed during the 1990s. IDT has 18 propositions that generally assume that interpersonal communication is interactive, and that strategic deception requires significant mental effort of being aware of unconscious nonverbal cues that may signal their real state of mind (also called leakage) (Griffin, 2009, p.100).
The purpose of the paper is to describe and to examine IDT’s theoretical conditions and standards. It employs a number of scholarly articles and Griffin’s (2009) book, A First Look at Communication Theory, to analyze the strengths and limitations of IDT as a communication theory. IDT is socio-psychological theory in objective territory. IDT is a good communication theory because it generally satisfies the six standards of good objective theories, though with some limitations. IDT cannot fully explain underlying mechanisms; it is complex and not parsimonious; and it cannot predict various other deceptive strategies and interactions.
The main authors of IDT are David Buller and Judee Burgoon. They are both professors of Communication at the University of Arizona. They defined deception as “a message knowingly transmitted by a sender to foster a false belief or conclusion by the deceiver” (Griffin, 2009, p.98). They assumed that deception is not a one-way process because detectors’ relationships with deceivers and how they react to the latter during the deception process impact the strategic maneuvering and success of deceivers (Levine et al.,