Repeated Visits to the Future: Asking about Mental images to Discriminate between True and False Intentions

Melanie Knieps, Pär Anders Granhag, Aldert Vrij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study participants were interviewed on two occasions about a mental image of a future action. It was predicted that during an investigative interview, participants who told the truth would be more forthcoming when reporting a mental image of their future actions (such as using more words and details) compared to participants who lied about their future actions. We found that truth tellers more than liars reported to have had a mental image activated during the planning of their future actions. In addition, truth tellers used more words to describe their mental images than liars. However, no difference was found between liars and truth tellers regarding the type of details they used to describe their mental images. The subjective ratings‐truthfully answered by all participants‐revealed that truth tellers perceived their mental image as significantly clearer than liars. The results indicated that repeated interviews conducted on the same day are unlikely to elicit more cues to deception compared to a single interview. Future research should refine methods to more accurately pinpoint how liars and truth tellers differ in the type of details they use when describing a mental image of a claimed future intention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
JournalInternational Journal of Advances in Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


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