The effect of individual differences in episodic future thought on perceived credibility

Felicity O’Connell, Chantelle Carter, Paul Taylor, Zarah Vernham, Lara Warmelink

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In this paper, we describe four studies that explore how individual differences in Episodic Future Thought (EFT) affect the ability to be perceived as credible, both when telling the truth and when lying. In Study 1a, we measured participants EFT ability and asked them to give a truthful and deceptive statement about their intentions. It was found that statements provided by individuals with higher EFT ability showed several characteristics associated with credibility (including length and level of detail) than statements provided by individuals with lower EFT ability. Study 1b showed that when lying, but not when telling the truth, high EFT individuals were perceived as more credible than low EFT individuals by other participants. In Study 2a, we replicated Study 1a in written format: higher (versus lower) EFT individuals provided longer and more detailed truthful and deceptive statements. Study 2b showed that truthful and deceptive statements written by high EFT individuals were perceived as more credible than those written by low EFT individuals. Overall, the results show that EFT ability predicts the ability to credibly tell the truth and lie about intentions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology, Crime & Law
Early online date23 Jun 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 23 Jun 2023


  • Episodic future thought
  • future thinking
  • deception
  • lying
  • intentions

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