The Effect of Telling Lies on Belief in the Truth

Danielle Polage


The current study looks at the effect of telling lies, in contrast to simply planning lies, on participants’ belief in the truth. Participants planned and told a lie, planned to tell a lie but didn’t tell it, told an unplanned lie, or neither planned nor told a lie (control) about events that did not actually happen to them. Participants attempted to convince researchers that all of the stories told were true. Results show that telling a lie plays a more important role in inflating belief scores than simply preparing the script of a lie. Cognitive dissonance may lead to motivated forgetting of information that does not align with the lie. This research suggests that telling lies may lead to confusion as to the veracity of the lie leading to inflated belief scores.


lying; lies; inflation; memory; deception

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