A stability bias effect amongst lie-tellers: testing the "miscalibration" and "strategic" hypotheses

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Unlike truth-tellers’ statements that show forgetting, lie-tellers’ statements appear less sensitive to delay. For lie-tellers this failure to correctly simulate forgetting has been referred to as a stability bias. This experiment tests two explanations for this stability bias: the ‘miscalibration’ hypothesis and the ‘strategic’ hypothesis. Using a 2 (Task Type: recall estimate vs strategic estimate) × 2 (Delay: immediate vs. three-week) design, participants (n = 142) either estimated how much detail a truth-teller might remember from an intelligence briefing (testing the miscalibration hypothesis), or how much detail was necessary to make a fabricated statement about the same intelligence briefing appear convincing to others (testing the strategic hypothesis). Before making these estimates, participants were informed that the briefing occurred immediately beforehand, or three-weeks beforehand. Recall estimates correctly predicted forgetting would occur after a three-week delay. Strategic estimates did not vary as a function of statement-time. No differences in subjective beliefs emerged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-444
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • deception
  • stability bias effect
  • forgetting
  • delay
  • metacognition


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