Registered Report Stage 2: The effects of incentivized lies on memory

Paul Riesthuis, Henry Otgaar, Lorraine Hope, Ivan Mangiulli

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In the current experiment, we examined the effects of self-generated deceptive behavior on memory. Participants (n = 230) were randomly assigned to a “strong-incentive to cheat” or “weak-incentive to cheat” condition and played the adapted Sequential Dyadic Die-Rolling paradigm. Participants in the “strong-incentive to cheat” condition were incentivized to lie to avoid a financial penalty (i.e., punishment). Participants in the “weak-incentive to cheat” could also choose to lie but the outcome was a prosocial one (i.e., benefit for unknown co-participant). Two-days later, memory for the die-rolling event was assessed. A similar number of participants lied to avoid punishment as for prosocial reasons. Interestingly, we did not find evidence for unethical amnesia. However, participants who engaged in deceptive behavior, irrespective of their motives, produced more memory errors than honest participants. Although our results suggest that engaging in deceptive behavior does not lead to motivated forgetting, it can lead to memory errors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1161
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date1 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • deception
  • lying
  • memory
  • unethical amnesia


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