Detection of Deception in a Virtual World

Lauren B. Collister


This work explores the role of multimodal cues in detection of deception in a virtual world, an online community of World of Warcraft players. Case studies from a five-year ethnography are presented in three categories: small-scale deception in text, deception by avoidance, and large-scale deception in game-external modes. Each case study is analyzed in terms of how the affordances of the medium enabled or hampered deception as well as how the members of the community ultimately detected the deception. The ramifications of deception on the community are discussed, as well as the need for researchers to have a deep community knowledge when attempting to understand the role of deception in a complex society. Finally, recommendations are given for assessment of behavior in virtual worlds and the unique considerations that investigators must give to the rules and procedures of online communities.


deception detection, online community, virtual world

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