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Intending or pretending? Automatic evaluations of goal cues discriminate true and false intentions

Journal article
Authors Karl Ask
Pär-Anders Granhag
Fredrik Juhlin
Aldert Vrij
Published in Applied Cognitive Psychology
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 173–177
ISSN 0888-4080
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 173–177
Language en
Subject categories Psychology


This research presents a novel approach to discriminating between true and deceptive statements about intended future behavior. Arguing that true intentions are goal-directed, we predict that people who genuinely intend to pursue a reported goal will implicitly evaluate goal-relevant cues positively, whereas people who do not intend to pursue the goal will not. Participants in an experiment were instructed to tell the truth about a planned future behavior (true intention) or to falsely report that same behavior to mask their actual mock-criminal intention (false intention). As predicted, an evaluative priming task showed that participants with true intention exhibited implicit positive evaluations of cues relevant to the reported goal, whereas participants with false intention did not. Subsequent analyses showed that implicit positivity significantly discriminated between true and false intentions. The findings are discussed in terms of theoretical contributions and implications for the development of future detection tools.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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