Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Julian P. Keenan

Committee Member

Yoav Arieh

Committee Member

Cigdem Talgar


Deception is a frequent component of daily conversation and interactions. It is used both casually and deliberately in low and high stakes situations, respectively. A need to develop more accurate and efficient deception detection techniques has become important in response to such high stakes situations in which deliberate deception is employed. Terrorist acts motivated by fanatical beliefs constitute perhaps the most salient and increasingly prevalent example of such high stakes deception. Fanaticism develops in response to a number of belief systems including religion, politics, and sports. The relative accessibility and social acceptability o f sports fanaticism lends itself to experimental investigation and provides a theoretical model to begin to understand deception in fanatical individuals.

The currents study uses sports fan affiliation as a model of fanaticism and seeks to determine the hemispheric differences that exist during deceptive and truthful statements. High and low affiliation fans were shown images o f their favorite team, team rival, and a control stimulus and instructed to indicate their preferred team either deceptively or truthfully. By employing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) during such statements, a measure of hemispheric activation was obtained relevant to the peak, area under the curve, and variability of the motor evoked potential generated.

Contrary to what was expected, it was found that the left hemisphere displayed greater activation and that high affiliation sports fans evidenced less activation during both true and deceptive statements. The theoretical implications are discussed along with possible explanations for the results.

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Psychology Commons