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Keywords:

  • Event-related brain potentials;
  • N200;
  • P300;
  • Concealed information test;
  • Memory detection;
  • Response monitoring;
  • Stroop task;
  • Ego depletion;
  • Complex trial protocol

Abstract

In an event-related potential (ERP)-based concealed information test (CIT), we investigated the effect of manipulated awareness of concealed information on the ERPs. Participants either committed a mock crime or not (guilty vs. innocent) before the CIT, and received feedback regarding either specific (high awareness) or general (low awareness) task performance during the CIT. We found that awareness and recognition of the crime-relevant information differentially influenced the frontal-central N200 and parietal P300: Probe elicited a larger N200 than irrelevant only when guilty participants were in the high awareness condition, whereas the P300 was mainly responsive to information recognition. No N200-P300 correlation was found, allowing for a combined measure of both yielding the highest detection efficiency in the high awareness group (AUC = .91). Finally, a color-naming Stroop task following the CIT revealed that guilty participants showed larger interference effects than innocent participants, suggesting that the former expended more attentional resources during the CIT.