W. in 't Hout
- Psychopathic Traits and Their Relationship with the Cognitive Costs and Compulsive Nature of Lying in Offenders
- PLoS One
- Volume | Issue number
- 11 | 7
- Article number
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The cognitive view on deception holds that lying typically requires additional mental effort as compared to truth telling. Psychopathy, however, has been associated with swift and even compulsive lying, leading us to explore the ease and compulsive nature of lying in psychopathic offenders. We explored the costs of instructed lying versus truth telling through RTs and error rates in 52 violent male offenders, who were assessed with the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory (YPI). Our deception paradigm also included trials with the free choice to lie or tell the truth. By coupling monetary loss to slow and erroneous responding, we hypothesized that the frequency of lying despite likely negative consequences, would provide an index of compulsive lying. Offenders were slower and erred more often when lying than when telling the truth, and there was no robust association between psychopathy and the cognitive cost of lying. From an applied perspective, this suggests that psychopathy may not threaten the validity of computerized cognition-based lie detection. In the face of probable negative consequences, high grandiose-manipulative offenders chose to lie three times as often as low grandiose-manipulative offenders. Our new lying frequency index is a first attempt to create a much needed tool to empirically examine compulsive lying, and provides preliminary support for the compulsive nature of lying in grandiose-manipulative offenders. Alternative interpretation of the findings are discussed.
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