Past research has demonstrated that lying about an event interferes with one’s later recall of that event (Pickel, 2004; Chrobak & Zaragoza, 2008). This study examined the extent that individual differences in Machiavellianism (Christie & Geis, 1970) moderated the effect of lying on memory bias. Participants were asked to either truthfully recount or lie about the events depicted in a film clip. One week later, participants recalled the actual events of the film clip. Results showed that lying led to a decrease in the number of events and details that participants were able to recall. This effect was moderated by participant’s level of Machiavellianism such that low levels of Machiavellianism were associated with less memory bias whereas higher levels of Machiavellianism was related to increased memory bias. These suggest that low Machiavellian individuals are better able to differentiate between self-generated fabrications and actual events than their more manipulative counterparts.
Faculty Mentor: Todd Williams, Psychology