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20-01-2017 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2018

Psychological Research 3/2018

Destination memory and deception: when I lie to Barack Obama about the moon

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research > Uitgave 3/2018
Auteurs:
Mohamad El Haj, Xavier Saloppé, Jean Louis Nandrino

Abstract

This study investigates whether deceivers demonstrate high memory of the person to whom lies have been told (i.e., high destination memory). Participants were asked to tell true information (e.g., the heart is a vital organ) and false information (e.g., the moon is bigger than the sun) to pictures of famous people (e.g., Barack Obama) and, in a subsequent recognition test, they had to remember to whom each type of information had previously been told. Participants were also assessed on a deception scale to divide them into two populations (i.e., those with high vs. those with low deception). Participants with high tendency to deceive demonstrated similar destination memory for both false and true information, whereas those with low deception demonstrated higher destination memory for lies than for true information. Individuals with a high tendency to deceive seem to keep track of the destination of both true information and lies to be consistent in their future social interactions, and thus to avoid discovery of their deception. However, the inconsistency between deceiving and the moral standard of individuals with a low tendency to deceive may result in high destination memory in these individuals.

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