Poster B56, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Age-related Differences in the Effects of Lying on Cognitive Control and Memory
Laura Paige1, Angela Gutchess1; 1Brandeis University
Misinformation alters memory and lying could have similar implications. Lying requires cognitive control to inhibit truthful information, processes that decline with age. However, if older adults cannot reconcile competing information, lying may not impair their memory. In the present study, younger and older adults completed a questionnaire in which they lied or told the truth while EEG data was collected. After a delay, participants completed the same questionnaire answering all items truthfully, which served as a recognition test. Medial frontal negativity (MFN) is an event related potential (ERP) component associated with cognitive control, occurring ~70 ms post-response. Prior work suggests it is greater for deceptive relative to truthful responses. We predicted that lying would increase MFN response relative to the truth, due to increased cognitive control, and would impair correct memory at later test. Because older adults have difficulty with cognitive control, we predicted they would exhibit a smaller MFN response for lies and that lying would not impair correct memory relative to younger adults. Contrary to our predictions, older adults had worse memory for items to which one lied relative to younger adults, and the two groups did not differ in memory performance for truth items. Further, MFN response was greater for items to which one told the truth relative to lies and there were no age differences. Taken together, this suggests that processes other than cognitive control are involved in lying, and perhaps that reinforcing truthful information necessitates additional executive functioning.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging