Detecting concealed information: The role of individual differences in executive functions and social desirability
The aim of the study was to assess the relationship between deception efficiency and individual differences in executive functioning (EF) and personality, with a particular focus on the influence of social desirability. A mock crime scenario was used, followed by a Concealed Information Test based on reaction times (RT-based CIT). Individual measures of EF (inhibition, shifting, and working memory [WM]) and personality (the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire – Revised, EPQ-R), plus a measure of social desirability (Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding, BIDR) were collected in a distinct session. Results indicated that better executive functions were associated with faster responses to irrelevant items in the RT-based CIT. In a regression analysis, individual differences in shifting and spatial WM were significant predictors of the extra-time taken to lie, compare to truth-telling. No significant relations between deception outcomes and personality measures were noted. Looking at social desirability, the Impression Management scale predicted a further portion of variance in the extra time required to lie, beyond the contribution of executive functions. The utility of an individual differences approach to deception is advocated.
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