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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 16 (2005), Issue 1, Pages 25-36

Reaction Time of Motor Responses in Two-Stimulus Paradigms Involving Deception and Congruity with Varying Levels of Difficulty

Jennifer M. C. Vendemia, Robert F. Buzan, and Stephanie L. Simon-Dack

Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA

Received 27 July 2005; Accepted 27 July 2005

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Deception research has focused on identifying peripheral nervous system markers while ignoring cognitive mechanisms underlying those markers. Cognitive theorists argue that the process of deception may involve such constructs as attentional capture, working memory load, or perceived incongruity with memory, while psychophysiologists argue for stimulus salience, arousal, and emotion. Three studies were conducted to assess reaction time (RT) in relation to deception, response congruity, and preparedness to deceive. Similar to a semantic verification task, participants evaluated sentences that were either true or false, and then made truthful or deceptive evaluations of the sentence’s base truth-value. Findings indicate that deceptive responses have a longer RT than truthful responses, and that this relationship remains constant across response type and preparedness to deceive. The authors use these findings in preliminary support of a comprehensive cognitive model of deception.