Fabrication inflation increases as source monitoring ability decreases

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The current research looked at the effects of lying about a false childhood event on the liar's memory for the event. Participants attempted to convince researchers that false events had actually happened to them. In Experiment 1, participants showed a Fabrication Inflation Effect in that they were more likely to increase their beliefs in the lied-about events than control events. Individual differences such as scores on the Dissociative Experience Scale, frequency of lying, and self-reported feelings of discomfort while lying were related to rates of fabrication inflation. In Experiment 2, participants also showed fabrication inflation and were more likely to inflate their likelihood ratings when the lie was created during a separate session from the posttest. Results from both studies support the idea that Source Monitoring failures may cause participants to increase their likelihood ratings of lied-about events. These results suggest that intentional lying may lead some participants to increase their beliefs in their own fabrications. Applications to the legal field are discussed.


This article was originally published in Acta Psychologica. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Acta Psychologica


Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.