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Imagining a false alibi impairs concealed memory detection with the autobiographical Implicit Association Test

Dhammapeera, Phot, Hu, Xiaoqing, Bergström, Zara M (2019) Imagining a false alibi impairs concealed memory detection with the autobiographical Implicit Association Test. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, . ISSN 1076-898X. E-ISSN 1939-2192. (In press) (doi:10.1037/xap0000250)

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Abstract

Imagining counterfactual versions of past events can distort memory. In three experiments, we examined whether imagining a false alibi for a mock crime would make suspects appear less guilty in a concealed memory detection test, the autobiographical Implicit Association Test (aIAT), which aims to determine which of two autobiographical events are true. First, “guilty” participants completed a mock crime, whereas “innocent” participants completed an innocent act. Next, some of the guilty participants were asked to imagine a false alibi that corresponded to the innocent act. Finally, all groups completed the aIAT. Across experiments, we varied the type of aIAT used and also compared the effectiveness of the false alibi countermeasure when only imagined once, versus when it was repeatedly imagined over a week long period. The aIAT accurately detected the mock crime as true for guilty participants without a false alibi, but was consistently less able to detect the mock crime as true for guilty participants who had imagined a false alibi. The findings suggest that if guilty suspects fabricate an alibi, this may create a memory for the alibi that appears to be true based on the aIAT, which is problematic for its real-life applications in concealed memory detection.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1037/xap0000250
Uncontrolled keywords: Memory; Imagination; autobiographical Implicit Association Test; Truth
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Depositing User: Zara Bergstrom
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2019 14:56 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2019 13:53 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/76290 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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