The contribution of executive processes to deceptive responding

Department of Psychology, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, NY 11367, USA.
Neuropsychologia (Impact Factor: 3.3). 02/2004; 42(7):878-901. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2003.12.005
Source: PubMed


We measured behavioral responses (RT) and recorded event-related brain potentials (ERPs) when participants made truthful and deceptive responses about perceived and remembered stimuli. Participants performed an old/new recognition test under three instructional conditions: Consistent Truthful, Consistent Deceptive and Random Deceptive. Compared to Consistent Truthful responses, Consistent Deceptive responses to both perceived and remembered stimuli produced the same pattern of less accurate, slower and more variable responses and larger medial frontal negativities (MFN). The MFN is thought to reflect activity in anterior cingulate cortex, a brain area involved in monitoring actions and resolving conflicting response tendencies. The Random Deceptive condition required participants to strategically monitor their long-term response patterns to accommodate a deceptive strategy. Even compared to the Consistent Deceptive condition, RTs in the Random Deceptive condition were significantly slower and more variable and MFN activity increased significantly. MFN scalp distribution results revealed the presence of three different patterns of brain activity; one each for truthful responses, deceptive responses and strategic monitoring. Thus, the data indicate that anterior cingulate cortex plays a key role in making deceptive responses.

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    • "From the definition that lying involves withholding the truth, several cognitive models of deception have derived that response inhibition – the executive function that allows one to intentionally inhibit a dominant, automatic or prepotent response (Miyake et al., 2000) – may be at the heart of deception (Spence et al., 2004; Vendemia, Schillaci, Buzan, Green, & Meek, 2009; Walczyk, Harris, Duck, & Mulay, 2014). Various lines of research support the notion that the truth is the more dominant response that is activated first during lying, thereby causing response conflict (e.g., Duran, Dale, & McNamara, 2010; Hadar, Makris, & Yarrow, 2012; Johnson, Barnhardt, & Zhu, 2004; Seymour &Schumacher, 2009). Evidence that this response conflict is solved by active inhibition of the truth comes mainly from brain imaging studies that show that lying is accompanied by activity in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG; Abe, 2011; Vartanian et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Lying takes more time than telling the truth. Because lying involves withholding the truth, this "lie effect" has been related to response inhibition. We investigated the response inhibition hypothesis of lying using the delta-plot method: A leveling-off of the standard increase of the lie effect with slower reaction times would be indicative of successful response inhibition. Participants performed a reaction-time task that required them to alternate between lying and truth telling in response to autobiographical questions. In two experiments, we found that the delta plot of the lie effect leveled off with longer response latencies, but only in a group of participants who had better inhibitory skills as indexed by relatively small lie effects. This finding supports the role of response inhibition in lying. We elaborate on repercussions for cognitive models of deception and the data analysis of reaction-time based lie tests.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Consciousness and Cognition
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    • "The findings were largely consistent with previous neuroimaging results on deception and suggested that deception involving face identity also requires the suppression of truthful information. At the same time, many ERP studies have indicated that the late positive complex, which is a positive-going deflection appearing between 300 and 1000 ms after the onset of stimuli, was smaller for deceptive than for truthful conditions (Johnson et al. 2003, 2004) at posterior sites. We hypothesized that lie and truth conditions were associated with different fMRI activation in the ventrolateral, dorsolateral, and dorsal medial-frontal cortices; premotor cortex, and inferior parietal gyrus and were also associated with different amplitudes within the time interval between 300 ms and 1000 ms post face stimulus after the initiation of face familiarity processing. "
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    ABSTRACT: To understand the neural processing underpinnings of deception, this study employed both neuroimaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) and neurophysiological (event-related potential, ERP) methodologies to examine the temporal and spatial coupling of the neural correlates and processes that occur when one lies about face familiarity. This was performed using simple directed lying tasks. According to cues provided by the researchers, the 17 participants were required to respond truthfully or with lies to a series of faces. The findings confirmed that lie and truth conditions are associated with different fMRI activations in the ventrolateral, dorsolateral, and dorsal medial-frontal cortices; premotor cortex, and inferior parietal gyrus. They are also associated with different amplitudes within the time interval between 300 and 1000 ms post face stimulus, after the initiation (270 ms) of face familiarity processing. These results support the cognitive model that suggests representations of truthful information are first aroused and then manipulated during deception. Stronger fMRI activations at the left inferior frontal gyrus and more positive-going ERP amplitudes within [1765, 1800] ms were observed in the contrast between lie and truth for familiar than for unfamiliar faces. The fMRI and ERP findings, together with ERP source reconstruction, clearly delineate the neural processing of face familiarity deception.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Cerebral Cortex
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    • "It should be noted that so far most evidence for the contribution of response inhibition is indirect. Response inhibition has been used to explain differential effects of lying compared with truth telling, as for instance elevated RTs (Seymour et al., 2000; Verschuere and De Houwer, 2011), enlarged activation in brain areas linked to response inhibition (Spence et al., 2001; Schumacher et al., 2010; Vartanian et al., 2013) and stronger ERPs linked to conflict-detection (Johnson et al., 2004, 2005, 2008; Dong et al. 2010). More direct evidence of response inhibition during lying is scarce. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aims: Despite the widespread belief that alcohol makes the truth come out more easily, we know very little on how alcohol impacts deception. Given that alcohol impairs response inhibition, and that response inhibition may be critically involved in deception, we expected that alcohol intake would hamper lying. Methods: In total, 104 volunteers were tested at a science festival, where they had the opportunity to drink alcohol. Stop-Signal Reaction Times (SSRTs) served as operationalization of response inhibition. Differences in error rates and reaction times (RTs) between lying and truth telling served as indicators of the cognitive cost of lying. Results: Higher blood alcohol concentration was related to longer SSRTs, but unrelated to the cognitive costs of lying. Conclusion: This study validates previous laboratory research on alcohol and response inhibition in a realistic drinking environment, yet failed to find an effect of alcohol on lying. Implications of these findings and for the role of response inhibition in lying are discussed.
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