Title

Liar, Liar, Memory on Fire

Presenter Information

Danielle Polage

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 201

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

Have you ever told a lie so many times that you came to believe it? The current experiment investigated whether the consistency and timing of lies would influence autobiographical event memory. Seventy-three participants filled out the Life Events Inventory and rated the likelihood that a variety of events had happened to them before age ten. Participants were then interviewed about some of the events and were prompted to either tell the truth, alternate truth/lying, or lie about the events in two separate sessions. Participants lied by saying unlikely events actually happened to them and also by claiming true events had not happened. During the second session (one week later), participants again rated the likelihood of the events using the Life Events Inventory and change scores from Session 1 were calculated. A 2x2 (Session 1 (lie/ truth) x Session 2 (lie/ truth)) repeated measures analysis of variance showed a significant main effect for lying at Session 1 [F(1, 72) = 4.530, p = .037] for events that were initially rated as unlikely but were claimed to be true and also for events that were initially rated as highly likely but were claimed to have never happened [F(1, 72) = 8.021, p = .006]. Overall, results showed that memory for the truth became more uncertain after lying and shifted towards the lied-about response for both made-up affirmations and denials. Results suggest that lying may result in memory change for the liar. Applications to psychology and the law will be discussed.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Danielle Polage

Additional Mentoring Department

Psychology

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May 16th, 1:30 PM May 16th, 1:50 PM

Liar, Liar, Memory on Fire

SURC 201

Have you ever told a lie so many times that you came to believe it? The current experiment investigated whether the consistency and timing of lies would influence autobiographical event memory. Seventy-three participants filled out the Life Events Inventory and rated the likelihood that a variety of events had happened to them before age ten. Participants were then interviewed about some of the events and were prompted to either tell the truth, alternate truth/lying, or lie about the events in two separate sessions. Participants lied by saying unlikely events actually happened to them and also by claiming true events had not happened. During the second session (one week later), participants again rated the likelihood of the events using the Life Events Inventory and change scores from Session 1 were calculated. A 2x2 (Session 1 (lie/ truth) x Session 2 (lie/ truth)) repeated measures analysis of variance showed a significant main effect for lying at Session 1 [F(1, 72) = 4.530, p = .037] for events that were initially rated as unlikely but were claimed to be true and also for events that were initially rated as highly likely but were claimed to have never happened [F(1, 72) = 8.021, p = .006]. Overall, results showed that memory for the truth became more uncertain after lying and shifted towards the lied-about response for both made-up affirmations and denials. Results suggest that lying may result in memory change for the liar. Applications to psychology and the law will be discussed.