Title

The Effects of Detail and Valence on False Beliefs in Lies

Presenter Information

Danielle Polage

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 137A

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Lying, False Memory, Valence

Abstract

This study examined the effects of lying on the liar’s memory for the truth. Participants filled out a Life Events Inventory that asked them to rate the likelihood that various events had happened to them before they were ten years old. Participants were interviewed by the experimenter and prompted to either lie or tell the truth about several positive and negative valence events. Participants were told to claim an event was true when prompted with the question “Tell me about the time you…” and to deny an event when prompted with the question “How do you know you never…?”. Participants lied by claiming non-experienced events had happened to them. During the interview, participants created narratives about the events and attempted to convince the experimenter that their stories were true. Half of the participants were asked follow-up questions asking for additional details of the event. Participants later filled out a second Life Events Inventory online and the change score between the pre- and post-lie manipulation was calculated. The results showed that participants inflated their belief in the lied about events as compared to controls. Overall, there was no effect of valence; however, there was a significant interaction between valence and level of detail elicited, in that positive detailed lies and negative lies without details were more likely to be believed. These results demonstrate that lying can influence memory for the truth and that providing details differentially affects participants’ memories for positive and negative lies. The potential application of these results will be discussed.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Danielle Polage

Department/Program

Psychology

Additional Mentoring Department

Psychology

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May 21st, 2:10 PM May 21st, 2:30 PM

The Effects of Detail and Valence on False Beliefs in Lies

SURC 137A

This study examined the effects of lying on the liar’s memory for the truth. Participants filled out a Life Events Inventory that asked them to rate the likelihood that various events had happened to them before they were ten years old. Participants were interviewed by the experimenter and prompted to either lie or tell the truth about several positive and negative valence events. Participants were told to claim an event was true when prompted with the question “Tell me about the time you…” and to deny an event when prompted with the question “How do you know you never…?”. Participants lied by claiming non-experienced events had happened to them. During the interview, participants created narratives about the events and attempted to convince the experimenter that their stories were true. Half of the participants were asked follow-up questions asking for additional details of the event. Participants later filled out a second Life Events Inventory online and the change score between the pre- and post-lie manipulation was calculated. The results showed that participants inflated their belief in the lied about events as compared to controls. Overall, there was no effect of valence; however, there was a significant interaction between valence and level of detail elicited, in that positive detailed lies and negative lies without details were more likely to be believed. These results demonstrate that lying can influence memory for the truth and that providing details differentially affects participants’ memories for positive and negative lies. The potential application of these results will be discussed.