A comparison between lying about intentions and past activities: Verbal cues and detection accuracy



In the present two experiments, we compared lying about intentions and past activities. In Experiment 1, truth tellers and liars left a building to collect a package from a specified location and deliver it somewhere else. They were interviewed about their intentions before leaving the building and about their activities after having completed the mission. Based on the concepts ‘cognitive load’, ‘episodic future thought’ (EFT), ‘avoidance strategies’ and ‘impression management’ we expected the recall of truthful intentions and past activities to be more plausible and detailed than descriptions of deceptive intentions and past activities. Participants in Experiment 2 read transcripts of these interviews. Although Experiment 1 revealed more cues to deceit in the past activities interviews (plausibility and detail) than in the intentions interviews (plausibility), participants in Experiment 2 were best at distinguishing between true and false intent. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.