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Drawing what lies ahead: False intentions are more abstractly depicted than true intentions

Journal article
Authors Sofia Calderon
Erik Mac Giolla
Karl Ask
Pär-Anders Granhag
Published in Applied Cognitive Psychology
Volume 32
Issue 4
Pages 518-522
ISSN 0888-4080
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 518-522
Language en
Keywords abstractness, construal level theory, drawings as a deception detection tool, true and false intentions, episodic future thought, detection tool, probability, behavior, markers, Psychology
Subject categories Psychology


The aim of this study was to examine how people mentally represent and depict true and false statements about claimed future actionsso-called true and false intentions. On the basis of construal level theory, which proposes that subjectively unlikely events are more abstractly represented than likely ones, we hypothesized that false intentions should be represented at a more abstract level than true intentions. Fifty-six hand drawings, produced by participants to describe mental images accompanying either true or false intentions, were rated on level of abstractness by a second set of participants (N=117) blind to the veracity of the intentions. As predicted, drawings of false intentions were rated as more abstract than drawings of true intentions. This result advances the use of drawing-based deception detection techniques to the field of true and false intentions and highlights the potential for abstractness as a novel cue to deceit.

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

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