Telling lies: the irrepressible truth?

TitleTelling lies: the irrepressible truth?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWilliams EJ, Bott LA, Patrick J, Lewis MB
JournalPloS one
Date Published2013

Telling a lie takes longer than telling the truth but precisely why remains uncertain. We investigated two processes suggested to increase response times, namely the decision to lie and the construction of a lie response. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants were directed or chose whether to lie or tell the truth. A colored square was presented and participants had to name either the true color of the square or lie about it by claiming it was a different color. In both experiments we found that there was a greater difference between lying and telling the truth when participants were directed to lie compared to when they chose to lie. In Experiments 3 and 4, we compared response times when participants had only one possible lie option to a choice of two or three possible options. There was a greater lying latency effect when questions involved more than one possible lie response. Experiment 5 examined response choice mechanisms through the manipulation of lie plausibility. Overall, results demonstrate several distinct mechanisms that contribute to additional processing requirements when individuals tell a lie.

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE