Timothy R. Levine

Distinguished Professor & Chair of Communication Studies, University of Alabama at Birmingham

My expertise involves topics of deception detection, interpersonal communication skills, credibility assessment & enhancement, interrogation, and persuasion/influence. 

Student, media, and consulting inquiries are welcome.

What’s New with Tim

  • I joined the faculty in the Department of  Communication  Studies at University of Alabama at Birmingham where I am the new Department Chair.  My new colleagues and the University have been incredibly supportive.   I miss teaching in Korea, but I am maintaining affiliation with Korea University.
  • I now have the title of Distinguished Professor (from a resolution adopted by The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama, April 10,2015).
  • I have 2 new review articles out on Active Deception Detection and New and Improved Accuracy in Deception Detection. Email me for reprints. These articles provide the latest information on what works and what doesn't work in human lie detection. 
  • My new theory, Truth-Default Theory (TDT) has gone public. Check out the TDT link. An article length summary is out in Journal of Language and Social Psychology. Thanks to Howie Giles for his support.  A book-length version of TDT is in progress.
  • The new Encyclopedia of Deception (edited by me) is now available. 
  • I co-authored a chapter with Charles Bond and Maria Hartwig that provides some really cool new meta-analytic findings on nonverbal cues and deception. Key findings include:
    • We found evidence for the decline effect in cue research. The number of times a cue has been studied is inversely related the its cumulative average effect, and the decline shows longitudinally such that cues effects are shrinking over time.
    • We put an end to the myth of indirect, implicit lie detection. Explicit, dichotomous truth-lie judgments actually result in better accuracy than indirect measures.
    • We provide meta-analytic evidence for the non-independence of cues. Appearance, audio, and content honesty cues are positively inter-correlated.

See: Bond, C.F., Jr., Levine, T.R., & Hartwig, M. (in press). New findings in nonverbal lie detection. In P.A. Granhag, A. Vrij, & B. Vershuere (Eds.), Deception detection: Current challenges and new directions. Chichester: Wiley. 

  • Kim Serota and I replicated our “few prolific liars” finding in a large sample from the UK. Lying is nonlinearly distributed in the UK too. There was also an independent replication from Amsterdam and we did a replication with teens. 

Serota, K. B. & Levine, T. R. (2014) A Few Prolific Liars: Variation in the Prevalence of LyingJournal of Language and Social Psychology (accepted for publication).

Halevy, R., Shalvi, S., & Verschuere, B. (2014). Being honest about dishonesy: Correlating self-reports and actual lying. Human Communication Research, 40, 54-72.

Levine, T. R., Serota, K. B., Carey, F, & Messer, D. (2013). Teenagers lie a lot: A further investigation into the prevalence of lying. Communication Research Reports, 30, 211-220.

  • David Clair, Pete Blair and I have a paper in HCR showing huge question effects in deception detection accuracy. This series of experiments provides the strangest evidence to date for the power of active deception in obtaining high accuracy, but also shows that active questioning can produce below chance accuracy.

Levine, T. R., Blair, J. P., & Clare, D. D. (2014). Diagnostic Utility: Experimental Demonstrations and Replications of Powerful Question Effects in High Stakes Deception Detection. Human Communication Research. (accepted for publication, 9/9/2013).

  • We completed our FBI grant. We found expert interrogators obtaining accuracy levels over 90%. The expert paper was just published.

Levine, T. R., Clare, D. D., Blair, J. P., McCornack, S. A., Morrison, K., & Park, H. S. (2014). Expertise in deception detection involves actively prompting diagnostic information rather than passive behavioral observation. Human Communication Research

  • I wrote a defense of publishing ns results:

Levine, T. R. (2013). A defense of publishing nonsignificant (ns) results. Communication Research Reports, 30, 270-274.


Updated May 14, 2015