AUSTIN, Texas – Oct. 1, 2007 – Scholars from around the country will convene at The University of Texas at Austin to examine the nature of deception in “The Interplay of Truth and Deception: New Agendas,” the second in a series of academic conferences featuring up-and-coming scholars studying important issues in communication.
The conference, which is open to the public, takes place Oct. 5-6 in the San Jacinto Hall Multipurpose Room on the university’s campus and is hosted by the College of Communication.
Brooks Jackson, director of the Annenberg Political Fact Check, will deliver the keynote address, “Finding the Weasel Word in ‘Literally True.’”
“The extent to which we understand the interplay of truth and deception is the extent to which we can make good decisions and become good consumers of information,” said Mark Knapp, professor in the Department of Communication Studies and co-host of the conference. “Today’s technology influences the speed, frequency and sources of information we process and these factors demand that we examine deception and truth telling in some different ways.”
A significant subfield in communication studies has examined the nature of deception, but beyond a simple distinction between truth and lies are a variety of messages more difficult to classify. These include spin, hype, doublespeak and equivocation, and these complex message systems have particular relevance to advertising, journalism and political life.
At this intimate conference, a diverse group of scholars will examine the nature of truth, including who and what can be believed, and why, in an age filled with both hopefulness and skepticism. Scholars scheduled to present include:
--Dan Ariely, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Mostly Honest: A Theory of Self-Concept Maintenance”
--Gary D. Bond, Winston-Salem State University, “Navigating the Gray Area between Truth and Deception”
--Jeff Hancock, Cornell University, “Best Face Forward: What Counts as Deception in Online Personal Photos?”
--Paul Martin Lester, California State University at Fullerton, “The Sin in Sincere: In Defense of Deception”
--Clancy W. Martin, University of Missouri-Kansas City, “Sincerity and Hypocrisy”
--Matthew S. McGlone, The University of Texas at Austin, “Quoted out of Context: Contextomy and Its Consequences”
--Michael I. Norton, Harvard Business School, “‘Read Playboy for the Articles’: Justifying and Rationalizing Questionable Behavior”
--David H. Shulman, Lafayette College, “Accounts as Social Loopholes: Reconciling Contradictions between Conduct and Culture”
--R. Weylin Sternglanz, Nova Southeastern University, “Exoneration of Serious Wrongdoing via Confession to a Lesser Offense”
--Seow Ting Lee, Illinois State University, “Truthtelling as a Journalistic Imperative”
“I believe this is the first time a conference on this topic has been held,” said Matt McGlone, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and conference co-host. “Most conferences devoted to the subject of deception and truth telling have made a clear distinction between deception and truth telling — i.e., a message is either one or the other. This conference is grounded in the belief that this sharp distinction is simplistic and doesn’t address various ways of creating messages that may not be entirely deceptive or entirely truthful.”
“Communication and Authenticity” is the second in a series of 10 “New Agendas” conferences to be sponsored by the College of Communication over the next three to five years. Each of the 10 conferences will culminate in a volume of research edited by College of Communication faculty members and published by Lawrence Erlbaum/Taylor & Francis Publishers.
Future topics to be covered in the series include: health communication, media literacy, language and learning, international communication, ethnicity and media, science communication, media convergence and media emotions.