Information Manipulation Theory 2: A Propositional Theory of Deceptive Discourse Production

Steven A. McCornack, Kelly Morrison, Jihyun Esther Paik, Amy M. Wisner, Xun Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Information Manipulation Theory 2 (IMT2) is a propositional theory of deceptive discourse production that conceptually frames deception as involving the covert manipulation of information along multiple dimensions and as a contextual problem-solving activity driven by the desire for quick, efficient, and viable communicative solutions. IMT2 is rooted in linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, speech production, and artificial intelligence. Synthesizing these literatures, IMT2 posits a central premise with regard to deceptive discourse production and 11 empirically testable (that is, falsifiable) propositions deriving from this premise. These propositions are grouped into three propositional sets: intentional states (IS), cognitive load (CL), and information manipulation (IM). The IS propositions pertain to the nature and temporal placement of deceptive volition, in relation to speech production. The CL propositions clarify the interrelationship between load, discourse, and context. The IM propositions identify the specific conditions under which various forms of information manipulation will (and will not) occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-377
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • deception
  • deceptive message production
  • information manipulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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