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    Lie to me: investigating the strategic regulation of fine-grain details in truth-tellers and liars

    Harvey, Adam (2013) Lie to me: investigating the strategic regulation of fine-grain details in truth-tellers and liars. University of Portsmouth.


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    A metacognitive model of memory regulation was applied to information-gathering interviews with deceptive and truth-telling participants. Theoretically, differential strategies of the liars and truth-tellers would direct specific metacognitive processes and elicit veracity cues. 60 participants (40 female, 20 male) were interviewed and asked to lie or tell the truth about an event. Half the liars and half the truth-tellers were given 5 minutes preparation. It was found that, despite a majority of liars reported adopting an ‘embedding’ strategy (whereby lies are concealed within really experienced events), significantly more fine-grain precise details (e.g. ‘he was 6’ 3” tall’, ‘the chair was red’) were reported by truth-tellers than liars. Additionally, truth-tellers reports contained significantly more reminiscence (recalling details in follow up questions not originally remembered) than liars. This provides the first evidence suggesting that embedding is not an effective counter-strategy to reminiscence based veracity tools. However, no evidence was found for increased verbal-decline for liars. Furthermore, no effect of preparation was found for fine-grain details, reminiscence, or verbal-decline. It is concluded that although the current results with respect to reminiscence are encouraging, the boundary conditions associated with fine-grain detail reporting should be established before such models are integrated into cognitive based lie-detectors.

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