Date of Award

May 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Erik Timmerman

Committee Members

Lindsay Timmerman, Kathryn Fonner


Communication, Deceit, Deception, Interpersonal Communication, Lying, Relationships


This study used Bryant's (2008) lie typology to understand how types of lies (real, gray, and white) compare to one another from the perspective of the individuals engaged in deceptive communication and test whether lies have an impact upon relationship qualities. Data were collected from a total of 246 participants using an online survey. Consistent with the hypotheses, there were significant differences across perceived lie characteristics (intention, consequences, beneficiary, truthfulness and acceptability) across real lies, white lies, and gray lies. The relationship qualities of satisfaction, similarity, trust, and closeness were not associated with the type of lie a participant told. Real lies were found to be the most serious type of lie having malicious intentions, negative consequences, be more self-serving, zero truthfulness, and considered unacceptable.

Included in

Communication Commons