Effects of self-deception on recognition memory of nonverbal symbols

by Kristie L Haugen

Institution: Colorado State University – Pueblo
Year: 2016
Keywords: Self-doubt; Self-deception; Signs and symbols
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2115874
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10217/172444


Self-deception has long been an understudied topic in human behavior as well as perplexing researchers with the assumption that self-deception entails an interpersonal dialog with the conscious and unconscious mind. The focus of this research is self-doubt as it relates to self-deception. This study was part of a companion study in which the purpose was to identify and assess behavioral markers of self-deception. This study specifically involved a visual-spatial processing task using nonverbal symbols. The participants studied a set of 50 ambiguous symbols presented individually. After a two minute verbal distractor task, the participants were shown a test set of 25 individual symbols that all appeared in the original set of symbols. The participants were asked to identify which of the symbols they recognize from the original set. Reaction times and accuracy of responses were recorded during the presentation of the test set of symbols. Because all symbols in the test set appeared in the original set, a correct response was that the participant recognized the symbol from the previous set. The results of the study yielded a large effect size. The participants responded incorrectly 33% of the time, and incorrect response times were 200 milliseconds greater than the correct response times. This delay during incorrect responses indicated the brain engaging in a mechanism that allows an individual to doubt oneself. These findings suggest that the mechanism that caused the delay in incorrect response times may represent a form of self-deception.