Research on deception detection has established that accuracy of veracity judgments is slightly above chance level. A meta-analysis of 206 studies showed an average hit rate of 54% (Bond & DePaulo, 2006). In addition, empirical evidence suggests that experts (e.g., police officers) are not better at detecting deception compared to laypeople (Bond & DePaulo, 2008; Vrij, 2008). These results suggest that humans are poor lie detectors and that the human mind is not equipped to discern between truth and lies. Recently, some researchers have challenged this perspective, suggesting that lie detection can be substantially improved if judgments are guided by unconscious processes. In a series of 5 experiments, Reinhard, Greifeneder, and Scharmach (2013) found that preventing people from conscious deliberation significantly increases the ability to detect deception. Specifically, results showed that veracity judgments formed after a short period of unconscious thought were significantly more accurate than veracity judgments formed directly after watching the messages (standard condition) or after a short period of conscious though. In our study, we replicated this experimental paradigm with own-race and cross-race judgments. Participants (White university students) were randomly assigned either to a standard condition or to an unconscious thinking condition. In each condition, they watched 12 videos, 6 of Black and 6 of White individuals who were lying or telling the truth. Results showed that, regardless of the experimental condition, accuracy was higher for own-race than for cross-race judgments.
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