Embedding lies into truthful stories does not affect their quality

Brianna L. Verigin, Ewout H. Meijer, Aldert Vrij

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When given the opportunity, liars will embed their lies into otherwise truthful statements. In what way this embedding affects the quality of lies, however, remains largely unknown. This study investigated whether lies that are embedded into truthful stories are richer in detail and contain higher quality details compared to lies that are part of entirely fabricated statements. Participants (N = 111) were asked to provide a statement that was either entirely truthful, entirely fabricated, or had the fabricated element of interest embedded into an otherwise truthful story. Results indicated that lies embedded in a fabricated statement are not qualitatively different from lies embedded in an otherwise truthful statement. Supporting Bayes factors provided moderate to strong evidence for this conclusion. Accordingly, verbal credibility assessment tools based on the verbal content measured in this study may be robust against the embedding of lies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Early online date12 Feb 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 12 Feb 2020


  • content analysis
  • deceivers' strategies
  • embedded lies
  • Information management
  • verbal deception detection


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